IOActive, a global provider of specialist information security services, has uncovered multiple vulnerabilities in Belkin WeMo Home Automation devices that could affect over half a million users. Belkin’s WeMo uses Wi-Fi and the mobile Internet to control home electronics anywhere in the world directly from the users’ smartphone.
Mike Davis, IOActive’s principal research scientist, uncovered multiple vulnerabilities in the WeMo product set that gives attackers the ability to remotely control WeMo Home Automation attached devices over the Internet, perform malicious firmware updates, remotely monitor the devices (in some cases), and access an internal home network.
The vulnerabilities found within the Belkin WeMo devices expose users to several potentially costly threats, from home fires2 with possible tragic consequences down to the simple waste of electricity. The reason for this is that, after attackers compromise the WeMo devices, they can be used to remotely turn attached devices on and off at any time. Given the number of WeMo devices in use, it is highly likely that many of the attached appliances and devices will be unattended, thus increasing the threat posed by these vulnerabilities.
Additionally, once an attacker has established a connection to a WeMo device within a victims network; the device can be used as a foothold to attack other devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and attached network file storage.
The Belkin WeMo firmware images that are used to update the devices are signed with public key encryption to protect against unauthorised modifications. However, the signing key and password are leaked on the firmware that is already installed on the devices. This allows attackers to use the same signing key and password to sign their own malicious firmware and bypass security checks during the firmware update process.
Additionally, Belkin WeMo devices do not validate Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificates preventing them from validating communications with Belkin’s cloud service including the firmware update RSS feed. This allows attackers to use any SSL certificate to impersonate Belkin’s cloud services and push malicious firmware updates and capture credentials at the same time. Due to the cloud integration, the firmware update is pushed to the victim’s home regardless of which paired device receives the update notification or its physical location.
The Internet communication infrastructure used to communicate Belkin WeMo devices is based on an abused protocol that was designed for use by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services to bypass firewall or NAT restrictions. It does this in a way that compromises all WeMo devices security by creating a virtual WeMo darknet where all WeMo devices can be connected to directly; and, with some limited guessing of a ‘secret number’, controlled even without the firmware update attack.
The Belkin WeMo server application programming interface (API) was also found to be vulnerable to an XML inclusion vulnerability, which would allow attackers to compromise all WeMo devices.