Menu
Flaw in popular door controllers allow hackers to easily unlock secure doors

Flaw in popular door controllers allow hackers to easily unlock secure doors

The attack doesn't require authentication and can be launched for all door controllers on a network at the same time

Doors that provide access into secure areas in airports, hospitals, government facilities and other organizations can easily be opened by hackers due to a vulnerability into a popular brand of networked door controllers.

The flaw exists in the widely used VertX and Edge lines of door controllers from HID Global, one of the world's largest manufacturers of smartcards, card readers and access control systems.

HID's VertX and Edge controllers can be remotely managed over the network and have a service called discoveryd (discovery daemon) that listens to UDP probe packets on port 4070, according to Ricky Lawshae, a researcher with Trend Micro's newly acquired DVLabs division.

When such a packet is received, the door controller responds with its physical MAC address, device type, firmware version and other identifying information, like the human readable name that was assigned to it.

However, Lawshae found that discoveryd also responds to a command called command_blink_on that can be used to change the blinking pattern of the controller's status LED. When this command is received, the service calls the system() function to run the blink program with a number as argument.

However, the input is not properly sanitized, which means that in addition to the regular input an attacker could inject Linux shell commands that would be executed as root, the highest privileged account on the system.

"Since the device in this case is a door controller, having complete control includes all of the alarm and locking functionality," Lawshae said in a blog post. "This means that with a few simple UDP packets and no authentication whatsoever, you can permanently unlock any door connected to the controller."

The door also can be unlocked in a way that makes it impossible for a remote management system to re-lock it, Lawshae said, adding that every door on the network can be unlocked at the same time by sending UDP broadcast packets.

Trend Micro reported the vulnerability to HID and the company released a patch through its partner portal. However, as with most embedded systems, it will probably take a long time until all customers obtain and deploy the patch and some of them probably never will.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments