Menu
Advantech industrial serial-to-Internet gateways wide open to unauthorized access

Advantech industrial serial-to-Internet gateways wide open to unauthorized access

The firmware contains a heavily modified SSH server that accepts any password or authentication key, researchers found

Internet-connected industrial devices could be accessible to anyone, with no password, thanks to a coding error by a gateway manufacturer.

Taiwanese firm Advantech patched the firmware in some of its serial-to-IP gateway devices in October to remove a hard-coded SSH (Secure Shell) key that would have allowed unauthorized access by remote attackers.

But it overlooked an even bigger problem: Any password will unlock the gateways, which are used to connect legacy serial devices to TCP/IP and cellular networks in industrial environments around the world.

Researchers from security firm Rapid7 discovered the vulnerability in the revised firmware, version 1.98, released for the Advantech EKI-1322 Internet protocol (IP) gateway which can connect serial and Ethernet devices to a cellular network.

 

The firmware contains an open-source SSH server called Dropbear that has been heavily modified. As a result of these modifications, it no longer enforces authentication, allowing any user to connect to it with any public key and password, the Rapid7 researchers said in an advisory.

In addition, there might be another backdoor account built in with a hard-coded password, separate from the previously found and removed SSH key, the researchers said.

The new issue was fixed in version 2.00 of the firmware for EKI-1322, released on Dec. 30. Users are advised to update to this version as soon as possible.

Even though only the EKI-1322 firmware was tested, the Rapid7 researchers believe that the same authentication bypass flaw might exist in all other Advantech EKI serial-to-IP gateways.

Advantech advertises such products as a simple way to bring remote management and data accessibility to thousands of industrial devices that cannot natively connect to TCP/IP networks.

However, vulnerabilities like this one highlight the risks of connecting such sensitive equipment to the Internet and the importance of strong network segmentation policies in industrial environments.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Reseller News honoured the standout players of the New Zealand channel in front of more than 500 technology leaders in Auckland on 21 October, recognising the achievements of top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards
Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments