Huawei Router Exploit Code Used in IoT Botnet Goes Public

Hackers have released the exploit code for Huawei router vulnerability that helped to enable the Satori IoT botnet.

IoT Toy Security Risk

At the core of the Satori Internet of Things (IoT) botnet that was disrupted by internet service providers (ISPs) earlier this month, is a vulnerability in Huawei routers. Researchers at NewSky Security reported Dec. 28. that code that exploits the Huawei vulnerability has now been publicly posted on the internet.

The Huawei router vulnerability is specific to HG532 devices that are widely used around the world. The vulnerability is formally identified as CVE-2017-17215 and was discovered by security firm Check Point, which reported the issue to Huawei on Nov. 27.

"An authenticated attacker could send malicious packets to port 37215 to launch attacks," Huawei wrote in its security advisory. "Successful exploit could lead to the remote execution of arbitrary code."

Check Point reported that the root cause of the flaw is linked to Huawei's implementation of the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocol via the TR-064 technical report standard. Check Point discovered that Huawei implementation allowed remote attackers to inject arbitrary commands, which hackers used to built the Satori botnet. Maya Horowitz, Threat Intelligence Group Manager at Check Point Software said that the code leak for the Huawei vulnerability that enabled Satori, does look authentic and works well to exploit CVE-2017-17215.

"This code, uploaded to  pastebin three days ago, indeed exploits the very same vulnerability used in the attack," Horowitz told eWEEK. "Our crawlers also brought it up to our attention."

Horowitz commented that the fact that the code is now in the open means that more threat actors will like now be using it. She added that it's likely that the CVE-2017-17215 will now become a commodity, with other IoT botnets beyond Satori, including IoTroop using it as well.

Looking specifically at the Satari botnet, Horowitz noted that Check Point does not have perfect visibility into the botnet. That said she commented that Check Point's sensors currently see a few hundred infections, mostly in US and Germany. 

"The peak was around the time we identified the botnet and numbers are getting lower by the day," Horowitz said.

What Should Users Do?

Whether the risk is the Satori botnet, or another IoT botnet, the Huawei CVE-2017-17215 vulnerability will continue to be used by attackers. There are several things that users can do to help limit the risk of being exploited.

"The only thing users should do in regards to this zero-day is to change the default password on their router," Horowitz said. "This is also Huawei's suggestion on their Security Notice."

Horowitz also recommends that end-users that run Huawei routers behind a Firewall or Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), should also configure those devices to block the exploit's traffic.

While there are things end-users can take to limit the risk of the CVE-2017-17215 vulnerability, Horowitz is concerned that many users might not take the necessary steps.

"Users of this router are mostly home users, who do not typically log in to their router's interface and don’t necessarily have the know-how and so unfortunately I have to assume most devices would stay vulnerable," Horowitz said. "We desperately need IoT device manufacturers to make security a top priority and not to leave the users accountable."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.