Millions of IoT Devices exposed to remote hacks due to iLnkP2P flaws

Pierluigi Paganini April 26, 2019

Experts discovered security flaws in the iLnkP2P peer-to-peer (P2P) system that exposes millions of IoT devices to remote attacks.

Security expert Paul Marrapese discovered two serious vulnerabilities in the iLnkP2P P2P system that ìs developed by Chinese firm Shenzhen Yunni Technology Company, Inc. The iLnkP2P system allows users to remotely connect to their IoT devices using a mobile phone or a PC.
Potentially affected IoT devices include cameras and smart doorbells.

The iLnkP2P is widely adopted by devices marketed from several vendors, including Hichip, TENVIS, SV3C, VStarcam, Wanscam, NEO Coolcam, Sricam, Eye Sight, and HVCAM.

The expert identified over 2 million vulnerable devices exposed online,
39% of them are located in China, 19% in Europe, and 7% in the United States. Roughly 50% of vulnerable devices is manufactured by Chinese company Hichip.

The first iLnkP2P flaw tracked as CVE-2019-11219 is an enumeration vulnerability that could be exploited by an attacker to discover devices exposed online. The second issue tracked as CVE-2019-11220 can be exploited by an attacker to intercept connections to vulnerable devices and conduct man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks.

An attacker could chain the issues to steal password theft and possibly remotely compromise the devices, he only needs to know the IP address of the P2P server used by the device.

Marrapese also built a proof-of-concept attack to demonstrate how to steal passwords from devices by abusing their built-in “heartbeat” feature, but he will not release it to prevent abuse.

“Upon being connected to a network, iLnkP2P devices will regularly send a heartbeat or “here I am” message to their preconfigured P2P servers and await further instructions.” reported Brian Krebs.

“A P2P server will direct connection requests to the origin of the most recently-received heartbeat message,” Marrapese said. “Simply by knowing a valid device UID, it is possible for an attacker to issue fraudulent heartbeat messages that will supersede any issued by the genuine device. Upon connecting, most clients will immediately attempt to authenticate as an administrative user in plaintext, allowing an attacker to obtain the credentials to the device.”

iLnkP2P flaws

The expert attempted to report the flaws to the impacted vendors since January, but he did receive any response from them. The expert reported the flaws to the CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC) at the Carnegie Mellon University, the Chinese CERT was also informed of the discovery.

The bad news is that there is no patch to address both issues and experts believe they are unlikely to be released soon,

“The nature of these vulnerabilities makes them extremely difficult to remediate for several reasons,” Marrapese wrote. “Software-based remediation is unlikely due to the infeasibility of changing device UIDs, which are permanently assigned during the manufacturing process. Furthermore, even if software patches were issued, the likelihood of most users updating their device firmware is low. Physical device recalls are unlikely as well because of considerable logistical challenges. Shenzhen Yunni Technology is an upstream vendor with inestimable sub-vendors due to the practice of white-labeling and reselling.”

Marrapese recommends discarding vulnerable products, he also suggests restricting access to UDP port 32100 to prevent external connections via P2P.

The researcher published technical details on his discovery here.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – iLnkP2P flaws, IoT)

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