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(broadband routers) PC World: Flash Attack Could Take Over Your Router

  • From: Gadi Evron
  • Date: Wed Jan 16 13:16:41 2008

Props to Jeff Chan who I saw it from.

Yes, I still believe these ISP distributed machines called broadband routers are a network operators issue. But not all may agree on that.


Flash Attack Could Take Over Your Router

Robert McMillan, IDG News Service Tue Jan 15, 7:08 PM ET

Security researchers have released code showing how a pair of widely used technologies could be misused to take control of a victim's Web browsing experience.

The code, published over the weekend by researchers Adrian Pastor and Petko Petkov, exploits features in two technologies: The Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocol, which is used by many operating systems to make it easier for them to work with devices on a network; and Adobe Systems' Flash multimedia software.

By tricking a victim into viewing a malicious Flash file, an attacker could use UPnP to change the primary DNS (Domain Name System) server used by the router to find other computers on the Internet. This would give the attacker a virtually undetectable way to redirect the victim to fake Web sites. For example, a victim with a compromised router could be taken to the attacker's Web server, even if he typed directly into the Web browser navigation bar.

"The most malicious of all malicious things is to change the primary DNS server," the researchers wrote. "That will effectively turn the router and the network it controls into a zombie which the attacker can take advantage of whenever they feel like it."

Because so many routers support UPnP, the researchers believe that "ninety nine percent of home routers are vulnerable to this attack."

In fact, many other types of UPnP devices, such as printers, digital entertainment systems and cameras are also potentially at risk, they added in a Frequently Asked Questions Web page explaining their research.