Vulnerabilities / Threats

7/29/2014
09:15 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Internet Of Things Contains Average Of 25 Vulnerabilities Per Device

New study finds high volume of security flaws in such IoT devices as webcams, home thermostats, remote power outlets, sprinkler controllers, home alarms, and garage door openers.

A new study published this week found that among even among just a small sample of some of the most popular and prevalent Internet of Things (IoT) devices, researchers uncovered 250 vulnerabilities -- many of which were severe and resulted in remote code execution, including vulnerabilities to Heartbleed, denial of service, and cross-site scripting.

Conducted by researchers at HP Fortify, the study was meant to demonstrate what may be found when a more comprehensive and disciplined approach is taken to examining this growing new class of devices.

Daniel Miessler, practice principle for Fortify On Demand at HP Fortify, who led the project, says many of the vulnerability discoveries announced about IoT devices over the last couple of years have been one-off findings.

"We haven't really seen a comprehensive approach when people talk about it -- they might talk about one vulnerability on the device or one relevant Internet vulnerability," he says, explaining that what makes IoT devices different is their multi-faceted nature. "When you think about what all is involved in an Internet of Things device, you've got the device itself, network access, authentication, the Internet component; and all these pieces together are what stack up to be the Internet of Things device. If you're not looking at the big picture, you're missing a lot of stuff."

This is why Miessler earlier this year collaborated with researchers Craig Smith and Jason Haddix to come up with the OWASP Internet of Things Top Ten Project, which delineates the top 10 security problems seen in IoT devices and tips on how to prevent them. For the study, he used that list as a backbone for testing 10 common devices, including a webcam, home thermostat, sprinkler controller, home alarm, and garage door opener.

Among those 10 devices, HP Security Research found an average of 25 vulnerabilities per device. Seven out of 10 of the devices when combined with their cloud and mobile applications gave attackers the ability to identify valid user accounts through enumeration. Nine out of 10 devices collected at least one piece of personal information through the device or related cloud or mobile app; and six of the devices had user interfaces vulnerable to a range of web flaws such as persistent XSS.

"We had one where you were able to log in and get root access to the device, and from there you could actually run and execute commands, pivot over to various locations on the internal  network," Miessler tells us.

He explains that, though many IoT devices are marketed to consumers, these rampant vulnerabilities have quite a bit of relevance for enterprises as well.

"They're not going to be closed to the devices we have here: TVs, webcams, home thermostats. They're not adverse to rolling out prosumer versions of these products, and we're already getting pings from our large corporate customers asking how secure these exact devices are."

And that's not to mention other very corporate devices such as SCADA networks, which exhibit the same multi-faceted attack surfaces as consumer IoT devices, he says. The biggest thing he wants enterprises to realize is they need to broaden their testing horizons lest they miss some very glaring vulnerabilities.

"It's not just cloud, it's not just the device, and it's not just network security," says Miessler. "People shouldn't view it as a one-dimensional problem."

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
Marilyn Cohodas
50%
50%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
7/29/2014 | 9:44:33 AM
25 vulns/device
That seems pretty high to me, but how does that compare to, for instance, a typical smartphone or tablet? I'd also be curious to know if OWASP has info abut which are most vulnerabe IoT devices on the market.
GonzSTL
50%
50%
GonzSTL,
User Rank: Ninja
7/29/2014 | 10:53:30 AM
Re: 25 vulns/device
I think we have come to accept that all things are vulnerable, so it really boils down to a risk vs benefit/utility analysis. If vulnerabilities can be mitigated without outweighing the benefit or utility, then it becomes an organizational decision. On a personal level, my smartphone is an essential need, but the need to control my home thermostat remotely just doesn't have the same level of utility as my phone, and is the last thing I need to worry about. I guess it all comes down to a matter of priorities.
markoer
50%
50%
markoer,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/29/2014 | 12:08:28 PM
Ok, but....
...where is the link to the HP study?...
Kelly Jackson Higgins
50%
50%
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
7/29/2014 | 2:41:22 PM
Re: Ok, but....
Here you go: http://fortifyprotect.com/HP_IoT_Research_Study.pdf

The link has now been added to the story, too. Thanks!
Kelly Jackson Higgins
50%
50%
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
7/29/2014 | 2:43:42 PM
Re: Ok, but....
Here you go: http://fortifyprotect.com/HP_IoT_Research_Study.pdf

The link has now been added to the story, too. Thanks!
markoer
50%
50%
markoer,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/30/2014 | 6:06:36 AM
Re: Ok, but....
Thanks a lot, Kelly!
Google Engineering Lead on Lessons Learned From Chrome's HTTPS Push
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/8/2018
White Hat to Black Hat: What Motivates the Switch to Cybercrime
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/8/2018
PGA of America Struck By Ransomware
Dark Reading Staff 8/9/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Now about that mortgage refinance offer from Wells Fargo .....
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-6970
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-13
VMware Horizon 6 (6.x.x before 6.2.7), Horizon 7 (7.x.x before 7.5.1), and Horizon Client (4.x.x and prior before 4.8.1) contain an out-of-bounds read vulnerability in the Message Framework library. Successfully exploiting this issue may allow a less-privileged user to leak information from a privil...
CVE-2018-14781
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-13
Medtronic MMT 508 MiniMed insulin pump, 522 / MMT - 722 Paradigm REAL-TIME, 523 / MMT - 723 Paradigm Revel, 523K / MMT - 723K Paradigm Revel, and 551 / MMT - 751 MiniMed 530G The models identified above, when paired with a remote controller and having the "easy bolus" and "remote bolu...
CVE-2018-15123
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-13
Insecure configuration storage in Zipato Zipabox Smart Home Controller BOARD REV - 1 with System Version -118 allows remote attacker perform new attack vectors and take under control device and smart home.
CVE-2018-15124
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-13
Weak hashing algorithm in Zipato Zipabox Smart Home Controller BOARD REV - 1 with System Version -118 allows unauthenticated attacker extract clear text passwords and get root access on the device.
CVE-2018-15125
PUBLISHED: 2018-08-13
Sensitive Information Disclosure in Zipato Zipabox Smart Home Controller allows remote attacker get sensitive information that expands attack surface.