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Researchers Discover Major Security Vulnerabilities in Smart Home Devices

Confirming the worst fears of householders everywhere, two security analysts have found multiple vulnerabilities in a recently discontinued smart-home center, together with the ability to unlock front doorways remotely using SSH keys.

In research published Tuesday, Jason Wheeler and Chase Dardaman detail how they have been capable of exploit three major safety flaws in a smart home center referred to as ZipaMacro. The pair didn’t publish their findings until the problems were resolved by Zipato, the agency that sells the hub.

The vulnerabilities included the ability to extract the hub’s SSH key from the memory card on the center. Wheeler was in a position to come up with the “root” key — the account with the best level of access that permits anybody to access a tool without needing a password.

The researchers later found that the non-public SSH key was coded into every smart hub offered to prospects, placing everyone who owned the product at risk of being hacked.

Using the key, they have been able to download a file from the machine containing scrambled passwords to the hub. As they tried to access the center, they understood that the product used a “pass-the-hash” authentication systems. This method doesn’t require a selected plain-text password — only the scrambled version.

In turn, Dardaman and Wheeler could take the scrambled password and use it to unlock the smart hub, successfully getting around the security measures applied by Zipoto. A savvy attacker might do the same, locking and unlocking doorways using an easy script sending a command to the smart hub.

After examining the research, Kevin Bocek, VP of security technique and threat intelligence at machine-id protection supplier Venafi, called smart home controllers utilizing the same hardcoded SSH id a “huge security threat.”


Jeanne Lussier

Jeanne is a contributing author and editor for the sensors and controls column. Being an electrical engineer her knowledge in this area is vast, and that benefits her a lot. And her writing is without any doubt very interesting and full of information. She writes about the progression of the sensor and controls sectors which is evolving to a mass industry currently.

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