Feeds

Linksys router ripe for remote takeover

Stealth attack exploits gullible management console

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A security researcher has discovered a flaw in a popular Linksys router that could allow attackers to remotely hijack the device using its web management console.

The Linksys WAG54G2 fails to properly inspect addresses typed in to browsers accessing the management console, allowing attackers to inject powerful shell commands into the router's Linux operating system, researcher Michal Sajdak warns here. The flaw is trivial to exploit when users fail to change the administrative password that's used by default.

"When you are logged in to the web administration, simple injection leads to OS root access," Sajdak writes. "It can be exploited using CSRF and these credentials (assuming a user did not change default user/password). One can still backdoor the router having access to web administration. Another outcome of the bug is an [ability] to quite easily examine what services are running on the router, what is its internal configuration, etc."

Representatives from Cisco, which owns Linksys, didn't respond to a request for comment by time of publication.

The web management console is turned on by default for users on the router's local area network, so the attack seems easiest for unauthorized people who already have access to the network. But using a technique known as CSRF, or cross-site request forgery, remote takeover of the device is also possible.

Sajdak says he notified Cisco of the vulnerability in March but as of Sunday there still was no fix. Users of the device are strongly urged to change the default password, a piece of advice that has fallen on deaf ears in the past.

Update

Web application expert Russ McRee of HolisticInfoSec.org, emailed to say the vulnerability is almost identical to one he found in a separate Linksys router. "When I contacted Linksys regarding a CSRF issue in the WRT160N I was advised that they wouldn't fix it," he wrote.

Linksys representatives still haven't responded to our request for comment. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.