Feeds

Buggy home routers expose O2 customers to hijacking

O2 looking in to it

Security for virtualized datacentres

Updated If you get your internet service from O2, there's a good chance Paul Mutton can remotely log in to your router and make configuration changes that surreptitiously allow him to access computers on your network.

That's because the UK-based ISP offers its customers free customized routers that are vulnerable to CSRF, or cross-site request forgery, attacks. Simply put, the hole allows him to log into the device using a simple web browser and a specially manipulated URL. Once connected, he can perform many if not all of the same administrative tasks an owner physically accessing the device can.

"This flaw allows remote attackers to take almost full control of the router, including stealing the wireless encryption key (even if the most advanced WPA2 setting was enabled) and forwarding external ports to internal IP addresses," Mutton, a security researcher located near the UK's Bath, wrote here.

The port-forwarding bit makes it easy easy for an attacker to intrude into a user's home network by burrowing into a computer, set-top box, or other device that would otherwise be protected by router's firewall. Interlopers can probably do other things, including changing the domain name system server to one that silently redirects users to rogue websites that masquerade as a legitimate bank, e-commerce site or search engine.

The flaw resides in two custom-built devices O2 gets from router manufacturer Thomson. Both the TG585n, and the TG585, known respectively as the O2 Wireless Box III and the O2 Wireless Box II, suffer from the bug. Subscribers of other ISPs that use the device are also likely to be exposed to the same threat.

An O2 spokesman said: "We have been notified of a potential security issue with the O2 Wireless box routers. We take this issue very seriously and are investigating it with the router manufacturer, Thomson. We thank Mr Mutton for bringing it to our attention."

Mutton said that's a far cry from the statements O2 support people gave him over the past week when he tried to bring the vulnerability to their attention. According to the blow-by-blow he provided, they told him the devices were "secured to a standard that is acceptable for home use" and that the provider was "under no obligation to supply you with a different router."

Routers and other low-cost devices that come with web interfaces have long been known to be vulnerable to a wide variety of attacks. Routers seem to be the low-hanging fruit, with bugs having been found in gear made by Linksys and Netgear and devices provided by BT on multiple occasions. ®

Update

On Thursday, O2 issued the following statement:

"Having been notified of a potential security issue with our O2 wireless box we have been working to find a solution. We have taken this issue very seriously and have been continuing to investigating it with the router’s manufacturer, Thomson.

"As a result we have identified a solution and we will be applying this remotely to all of our customers O2 wireless boxes. This means that customers will not have to take any action themselves."

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.