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Misconfigured CalAmp Server Enabled Vehicle Takeover

A misconfigured server operated by CalAmp, a company offering the backend for a broad range of well-known car alarm systems, provided anyone with access to data and even allowed for account and vehicle takeover.

A misconfigured server operated by CalAmp, a company offering the backend for a broad range of well-known car alarm systems, provided anyone with access to data and even allowed for account and vehicle takeover.

The issue was discovered by security researchers Vangelis Stykas and George Lavdanis, while looking for issues in the Viper SmartStart system, which allows users to remotely start, lock, unlock, or locate their vehicles directly from their smartphones.

The researchers discovered that the application uses a SSL connection and uses SSL pinning to prevent tampering.

However, the application also connected to the Lender Outlook service, where login was possible using the credentials from the Viper app.

“This was a different panel which seemed to be targeted to the companies that have multiple sub-accounts and a lot of vehicles so that they can manage them,” Stykas notes.

While everything on the domain was correctly secured, the researchers then discovered that the reports were delivered by another server running tibco jasperreports software. After removing all parameters there, the researchers discovered they were logged in as a user with limited rights but with access to a variety of reports.

“We had to run all those reports for our vehicles right? Well the ids for the user was passed automatically from the frontend but now we had to provide them from the panel as an input. And…well…we could provide any number we wanted,” the researcher explains.

The server not only provided access to all the reports for all the vehicles, including location history, but also included data sources with usernames (although the passwords were masked). Furthermore, the server allowed for the copying and editing of existing reports, meaning that an attacker could add arbitrary XSS to steal information.

 With all production databases present on the server, including CalAmp connect device outlook, the researchers then discovered that it was possible to take over a user account via the mobile application, as long as an older password for the account was known. From the application, it is then possible to manipulate the connected device, in this case a vehicle.

Basically, an attacker can reset the email to any account (even without knowing their password, as the same hash would work for any user), change the password, and, then simply walk to the car, unlock it, start the engine, and possibly steal the vehicle.

The vulnerability also allows an attacker to retrieve a list of all users and location reports on users, or start a vehicle’s engine whenever they want. They could also “get all the IoT devices from connect database or reset a password there and start poking around,” the researcher notes.

The researchers reported the issue to CalAmp in the beginning of May 2018, and the company resolved the bug within 10 days of receiving the report. They also updated their website to make it easier for security researchers to report any other vulnerabilities they discover in the company’s products.

*Updated to make it clear that the same hash could be used to take over any account.

Related: Upstream Security Raises $9 Million to Protect Connected Cars Through the Cloud

Related: Senators Say Cybersecurity Should be Top Priority for Autonomous Vehicles

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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