ZTE Router Vulnerabilities: A Demonstration on the Security Risks of the IoT

Positive Technologies researchers have discovered a number of vulnerabilities in a ZTE wifi router, used by 750-800 thousand devices globally. On June 5, Jimmy Jones, Telecoms Security Lead at Positive Technologies, will speak at InfoSecurity Europe in London.

The IoT is a security headache. It’s full of cheap devices with long lifespans that you have to try and secure. The network is growing rapidly to support these devices, so there is also an increasingly large perimeter to police. But it has to be tackled, and the sooner you start to identify the bugs the cheaper they are to fix.

This is what we found in the wild, testing a wifi router from ZTE which represents a device of the complexity and price of a many IoT offerings, just before it was deployed on a major network. In a long list of vulnerabilities, we found that this router from a well-respected vendor was susceptible to some of the most basic attacks, and some more complex. These included the use of dictionary of default credentials on privileged accounts, remote code execution via http on the system, and susceptibility to buffer overflow - to name just a few.

Through these vulnerabilities, attackers can totally compromise the device and take it under control and use it in botnet, intercept user data or mine crypto currency. We estimate that there are between 750 to 800 thousand devices using this routers firmware globally.