Feeds

Most home routers 'vulnerable to remote take-over'

Universal plug and prey

Security for virtualized datacentres

Security mavens have uncovered a design flaw in most home routers that allows attackers to remotely control the devices by luring an attached computer to a booby-trapped website.

The weakness could allow attackers to redirect victims to fraudulent destinations that masquerade as trusted sites belonging to banks, ecommerce companies or health care organizations. The exploit works even if a user has changed the default password of the router. And it works regardless the operating system or browser the computer connected to the device is running, as long as it has a recent version of Adobe Flash installed.

"This is a huge problem," Adrian Pastor, of the prolific hacking organization GNUCitizen, said in an instant message.

The problem resides in Universal Plug and Play, a feature built in to most routers used for home networks so machines running games, instant messaging programs and other applications will work seamlessly with the devices. By exposing an end user to a malicious Flash file lurking on a website, attackers can use UPnP, as the technology is usually called, to make significant modifications to the router.

The most serious change that's possible is changing the the server PCs connected to the router use to access websites. That might cause a victim trying to access eBay or Bank of America to see spoofed pages that steal their login credentials.

The hack could also allow attackers to open ports on a victim's router. That would be useful in turning a router into what would amount to a zombie machine by forwarding ports to an external server.

The weakness, which works using the navigatetoURL function and URLRequest object specified in Flash, isn't a security flaw within Flash, the researches say. Rather they are design flaws in UPnP, which doesn't use authentication. PCs using virtually any platform and browser will change router settings, as long as they run version 8 or higher of Flash.

Routers made by Linksys, Dlink and SpeedTouch have been confirmed to be vulnerable, and other manufacturers' products are also likely susceptible to attack, the researchers said. Most routers have UPnP turned on by default. The only way to prevent the attack is to turn the feature off, something that is possible with some, but not all, devices.

The vulnerability, which was also discovered by Petko D. Petkov, is explained further here. A FAQ is here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.