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.

Analytics

3/3/2008
07:40 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

SNMP Scan Nets Thousands of Vulnerable Devices

Researchers find products from Cisco, Apple, and Microsoft are vulnerable

If your network management people and your security people still aren’t talking, here’s another reason they should: researchers with the GNUCitizen hacker group have discovered details on over 5,000 SNMP-enabled devices on the Internet just by sending out random SNMP queries.

In a recent scan experiment, the researchers found names, models, and even patching information on some of these devices, which included brand-name routers such as Cisco, printers, VOIP phones and modems, and servers running Windows, FreeBSD, and Linux.

“It's worth noting that such systems' returns [included] very specific information such as full patching level of OS,” says Adrian Pastor, a researcher with GNUCitizen who has recently been conducting a range of SNMP vulnerability research, including a proof-of-concept for an attack that uses SNMP to launch a cross-site scripting attack. (See SNMP Joins Dark Side in New XSS Attack and Phishing for SNMP.)

Among the products that responded the most to GNUCitizen’s SNMP requests were ARRIS Touchstone Telephony modems, which accounted for over 35 percent of the devices they detected; various models of Cisco routers; Apple AirPort and Base Station wireless products; ZyXEL Prestige routers; Netopia routers; and Windows 2000 servers.

Pastor says that SNMP security issues aren’t new, but there are still plenty of SNMP-enabled devices exposed on the Internet. All it takes is SNMP read access to get their brand and model and other sensitive information for potential hacking purposes.

“There are still many Internet-visible systems waiting to be compromised via SNMP... many devices run SNMP by default, which is bad news,” Pastor says. “Another thing that I learned is that many systems that are firewalled are protected from TCP probes, but not UDP [which SNMP is based on]. In other words, you might find a bunch of hosts that cannot be probed via TCP services but still allow for a potential compromise via SNMP.”

Researcher HD Moore points out that there are lots of SNMP-scanning and brute-force hacking tools available today. “It’s fun research and I’m glad they shared the results, but it’s definitely not groundbreaking,” says Moore, director of security research at BreakingPoint Systems and creator of Metasploit, which also supports SNMP hacking.

“A counterpoint is that the only reason so many of these devices are exposed in the first place is because nobody manages them, via the Web interface or otherwise,” Moore says.

GNUCitizen researchers queried 2.5 million random IP addresses, but only about 5,320 of them responded to the SNMP requests. Pastor says several factors contributed to the low turnout, including the fact that SNMP is mostly enabled on embedded devices, which represent a relatively small piece of the Net, and because some of the IP addresses the researchers queried could have been internal IP addresses or are unassigned.

Some ISPs ship Internet routers, such as ZyXEL’s Prestige, with custom configurations that leave SNMP wide open to the Net, Pastor says. Other vulnerable devices’ SNMP woes could be due to factory default settings, for instance, he adds.

“SNMP read access could [be] enough to fully own a device!” he wrote in a GNUCitizen blog post today.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-26120
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-27
XSS exists in the MobileFrontend extension for MediaWiki before 1.34.4 because section.line is mishandled during regex section line replacement from PageGateway. Using crafted HTML, an attacker can elicit an XSS attack via jQuery's parseHTML method, which can cause image callbacks to fire even witho...
CVE-2020-26121
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-27
An issue was discovered in the FileImporter extension for MediaWiki before 1.34.4. An attacker can import a file even when the target page is protected against "page creation" and the attacker should not be able to create it. This occurs because of a mishandled distinction between an uploa...
CVE-2020-25812
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-27
An issue was discovered in MediaWiki 1.34.x before 1.34.4. On Special:Contributions, the NS filter uses unescaped messages as keys in the option key for an HTMLForm specifier. This is vulnerable to a mild XSS if one of those messages is changed to include raw HTML.
CVE-2020-25813
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-27
In MediaWiki before 1.31.10 and 1.32.x through 1.34.x before 1.34.4, Special:UserRights exposes the existence of hidden users.
CVE-2020-25814
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-27
In MediaWiki before 1.31.10 and 1.32.x through 1.34.x before 1.34.4, XSS related to jQuery can occur. The attacker creates a message with [javascript:payload xss] and turns it into a jQuery object with mw.message().parse(). The expected result is that the jQuery object does not contain an <a> ...