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Popular Belkin Wi-Fi router has numerous security holes

Published Sep 3rd, 2015 10:00PM EDT
Belkin N600

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Led by Joel Land, security researchers from Carnegie Mellon University’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) recently discovered that a popular Belkin router contains a number of serious security vulnerabilities that can leave users exposed to a wide variety of attacks.

According to a CERT vulnerability report published earlier this week, the Belkin N600 DB Wireless Dual Band N+ router, model F9K1102 v2 with firmware version 2.10.17 is vulnerable to a number of harrowing exploits. Speaking to the device’s popularity, the router in question is the first product listed when one searches for a “Belkin Router” on Amazon.

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The vulnerability report relays that hackers targeting the router can inject malicious code, conduct man-in-the-middle attacks, intercept user credentials, manipulate traffic to block firmware updates and more. All told, the report highlights 5 high-level vulnerabilities.

Detailing the impact of these vulnerabilities, the report notes:

A remote, unauthenticated attacker may be able to spoof DNS responses to cause vulnerable devices to contact attacker-controlled hosts or induce an authenticated user into making an unintentional request to the web server that will be treated as an authentic request. A LAN-based attacker can bypass authentication to take complete control of vulnerable devices.

As for a solution, the team at CERT notes that they are not aware of any practical solutions users can currently implement to stymie such attacks.

They do, however, offer up the following suggestion.

As a general good security practice, only allow trusted hosts to connect to the LAN. Implement strong passwords for WiFi and for the web management interface. While passwords do not provide any additional security against LAN-based attackers due to the authentication bypass vulnerability, passwords can help to prevent blind guessing attempts that would establish sessions for CSRF attacks. LAN hosts should not browse the Internet while the web management interface has an active session in a browser tab.

Note that there are no practical workarounds for the DNS spoofing or firmware over HTTP issues, as general users are unlikely to be able to monitor traffic entering the router’s WAN port.

If you have the aforementioned Belkin router, you might want to switch it out for a new device.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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