Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT/Embedded Security //

Controller

12/4/2017
10:05 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

Device Servers May Have Leaked Telnet Passwords for Years

A security researcher has found that servers that connect older, industrial hardware to the Internet have been leaking Telnet passwords, possibly for years.

Ankit Anubhav of Newsky Security, a firm that specializes in Internet of Things security, has found something troubling in his research.

Anubhav told Bleeping Computer that he had found thousands of Lantronix's Serial-to-Ethernet "device servers" were leaking their Telnet passwords over the Internet.

A Shodan scan for the affected servers on the Internet showed that more than 6,400 of them were vulnerable and exploitable. This was about half of those that could be scanned by Shodan, with 4,300 located within the US alone.

These servers are used to connect older control hardware devices that have a serial output to Ethernet networks. These devices can then be managed over an Ethernet connection.

These kinds of connection and installations have proven useful within Industrial Control System (ICS) networks, where there's a need to have control over older hardware, but these physical components may have only one serial port available.

It seems that this is actually a vulnerability that has been around at least since 2012. It allows attackers to retrieve the setup configuration of Lantronix devices by sending a malformed request on port 30718. The returned configuration includes the Telnet password in plaintext.

Once an attacker has this password, they would be able to send serial commands directly to the controlled device.

The vulnerability of the hodgepodge of current systems is brought out by this kind of problem. Devices that are used for mission-critical ICS were not designed with security in mind. And it is now coming to haunt us.

These kinds of devices can be easily overlooked in a security audit, written off as some protocol translation hardware. Knowing that they have had this kind of longstanding behavior is truly arcane knowledge, especially if the manufacturer thinks they have already issued a patch of some sort.

Security folk need to increase the granularity of their view.

The black box on their mental diagram can't just be some controller to Ethernet, it's going to have to evolve to become the controller and the interface to which the controller is connected. Each element that is in the network needs to be individually accounted for, and analyzed for the true threat model to emerge.

Some may think this adds another layer of complexity to an already complex overall mix. Well, it does. But that very complexity needs to be dealt with when it can cause its own kind of problems. Networks may be growing to the point where simplistic analysis blinds one to the true nature of the complex and non-linear kinds of interactions that may occur in practice.

The Lantronix problem is a wake-up call to everyone. Things that may not have seemed to be problematic in the past have to be reconsidered before they blow up in your face.

Related posts:

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
When It Comes To Security Tools, More Isn't More
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  1/11/2021
US Capitol Attack a Wake-up Call for the Integration of Physical & IT Security
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  1/11/2021
IoT Vendor Ubiquiti Suffers Data Breach
Dark Reading Staff 1/11/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3166
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
An issue was discovered on ASUS DSL-N14U-B1 1.1.2.3_805 devices. An attacker can upload arbitrary file content as a firmware update when the filename Settings_DSL-N14U-B1.trx is used. Once this file is loaded, shutdown measures on a wide range of services are triggered as if it were a real update, r...
CVE-2020-29446
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-18
Affected versions of Atlassian Fisheye & Crucible allow remote attackers to browse local files via an Insecure Direct Object References (IDOR) vulnerability in the WEB-INF directory. The affected versions are before version 4.8.5.
CVE-2020-15864
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-17
An issue was discovered in Quali CloudShell 9.3. An XSS vulnerability in the login page allows an attacker to craft a URL, with a constructor.constructor substring in the username field, that executes a payload when the user visits the /Account/Login page.
CVE-2021-3113
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-17
Netsia SEBA+ through 0.16.1 build 70-e669dcd7 allows remote attackers to discover session cookies via a direct /session/list/allActiveSession request. For example, the attacker can discover the admin's cookie if the admin account happens to be logged in when the allActiveSession request occurs, and ...
CVE-2020-25533
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-15
An issue was discovered in Malwarebytes before 4.0 on macOS. A malicious application was able to perform a privileged action within the Malwarebytes launch daemon. The privileged service improperly validated XPC connections by relying on the PID instead of the audit token. An attacker can construct ...