Security Experts:

Serious Flaws Expose AVTECH Devices to IoT Botnets

More than a dozen vulnerabilities found in video surveillance products from AVTECH could be exploited by Internet of Things (IoT) botnets to ensnare affected devices, warned Hungary-based security research and development firm Search-Lab.

Taiwan-based AVTECH offers a wide range of IP cameras, CCTV equipment and network recorders. AVTECH is said to be one of the world’s largest video surveillance product manufacturers. It should be noted that the firm whose products are vulnerable has no connection to US-based AVTECH, which provides environment monitoring solutions.

According to Search-Lab researcher Gergely Eberhardt, all AVTECH devices and all firmware versions are plagued by security holes, including flaws that could allow attackers to take complete control of vulnerable cameras and recorders.

The most serious issues uncovered by the expert can be exploited to bypass authentication and inject arbitrary commands (both with and without authentication). The researcher also determined that the devices lack protection against cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attacks, store admin passwords in plain text, use HTTPS without certificate verification, and expose potentially sensitive configuration data.

The web-based administration interface of AVTECH devices is protected by a CAPTCHA system to prevent brute-force attacks, but the mechanism can be easily bypassed. Eberhardt identified two methods that can be used to bypass the CAPTCHA.

While there is no evidence that the vulnerable AVTECH products have been ensnared by a botnet, experts noticed that one of the authenticated command injection flaws has been exploited in the wild. Eberhardt told SecurityWeek that the attackers are likely combining the flaw either with default credentials or an authentication bypass method.

A Shodan scan shows that over 130,000 devices made by the company are exposed to the Internet. An analysis conducted by Search-Lab revealed that nearly half of AVTECH devices have default credentials and almost 60 percent of them are vulnerable to authentication bypass attacks.  

Search-Lab has attempted to inform AVTECH of the vulnerabilities on several occasions between October 2015 and September 2016. Since the vendor hasn’t responded, the company has decided to make its findings public and release proof-of-concept (PoC) code. A video demonstrating some of the security holes has also been made available:

 

Vulnerable IoT devices have been increasingly abused by cybercriminals, particularly for distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Botnets that ensnared hundreds of thousands and even millions of devices have been leveraged for massive attacks, including ones that exceeded 1 Tbps.

Flashpoint warned last week that more than 500,000 IoT devices using software from a China-based company called XiongMai Technologies could easily be compromised by botnets such as Mirai, whose source code was leaked recently.

*Updated to clarify that there is no connection between the Taiwan-based AVTECH whose products are vulnerable and the US-based AVTECH.

Related: MITRE Offers $50,000 for Rogue IoT Device Detection

Related: Wireless ISP Modems Plagued by Serious Vulnerabilities

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.