Hackers are hijacking smart building access systems to launch DDoS attacks

Image: Nortek Security & Control, LLC

Hackers are actively searching the internet and hijacking smart door/building access control systems, which they are using to launch DDoS attacks, according to firewall company SonicWall.

The attacks are targeting Linear eMerge E3, a product of Nortek Security & Control (NSC).

Linear eMerge E3 devices [1, 2, 3] fall in the hardware category of “access control systems.” They are installed in corporate headquarters, factories, or industrial parks. Their primary purpose is to control what doors and rooms employees and visitors can access based on their credentials (access codes) or smart cards.

In May 2019, researchers from Applied Risk, a cyber-security firm specialized in industrial security services, disclosed details about ten vulnerabilities impacting NSC Linear eMerge E3 devices.

NSC Linear eMerge E3 devices

NSC Linear eMerge E3 devices

Despite the fact that six of the ten vulnerabilities had a vulnerability severity (CVSSv3) score of 9.8 or 10 out of a maximum of 10, NSC failed to provide patches, according to an Applied Risk security advisory.

Applied Risk later released proof-of-concept exploit code in November.

CVE-2019-7256 exploitation

Now, in a report published last week, SonicWall researchers say that hackers are scanning the internet for exposed NSC Linear eMerge E3 devices and using one of the ten vulnerabilities.

The vulnerability they are using is CVE-2019-7256. Applied Risk described this vulnerability as a command injection flaw. It is one of the two that received a severity score of 10/10, meaning it can be exploited remote, even by low-skilled attackers without any advanced technical knowledge.

“This issue is triggered due to insufficient sanitizing of user-supplied inputs to a PHP function allowing arbitrary command execution with root privileges,” SonicWall said in a security alert published last week. “A remote unauthenticated attacker can exploit this to execute arbitrary commands within the context of the application, via a crafted HTTP request.”

Hackers are using CVE-2019-7256 to take over devices, download & install malware, and then launch DDoS attacks on other targets.

The first of these attacks began on January 9, this year, and were spotted by intelligence firm Bad Packets, and have continued in a steady stream ever since.

“Attackers seem to be actively targeting these devices as we see tens of thousands of hits every day, targeting over 100 countries with the most [attacks being] observed in U.S.,” SonicWall said.

The attack surface isn’t too large, though. SonicWall reports that only “2,375 Internet-accessible eMerge devices are listed by the Shodan search engine.”

This number is far lower than the millions of security cameras and home routers that are also available online. However, the small number of vulnerable devices has not dissuaded attackers so far, and exploitation attempts they’re likely to continue.

IoT devices used as entry points

But while having your smart building door system launch DDoS attacks on Steam or the PlayStation Network is one issue, a bigger threat is that these vulnerable systems can also be used as entry points into an organization’s internal networks.

In August last year, Microsoft reported that it observed a Russian state-sponsored hacking crew using Internet of Things (IoT) smart devices as launching points for other attacks on corporate networks.

The Russian hackers tried to exploit a VOIP phone, an office printer, and a video decoder, Microsoft said, but the NSC Linear eMerge E3 devices are just as attractive targets, primarily due to the high severity of the ten security bugs disclosed last year.

System administrators managing networks were NSC Linear eMerge E3 devices are installed are advised to take these systems off the internet, or at least limit access to these devices using a firewall or VPN.

About the author

E-Crypto News was developed to assist all cryptocurrency investors in developing profitable cryptocurrency portfolios through the provision of timely and much-needed information. Investments in cryptocurrency require a level of detail, sensitivity, and accuracy that isn’t required in any other market and as such, we’ve developed our databases to help fill in information gaps.

Related Posts

E-Crypto News Executive Interviews

Crypto Scams

Cryptosoft Trading Bot Review
June 27, 2022
The Largest Crypto Scams Of 2022 (So Far)
The Largest Crypto Scams Of 2022 (So Far)
June 14, 2022
How Do Scammers Entice Their Prey?
May 10, 2022
Beanstalk Farms Loses $80M In A Massive DeFi Governance Flash-Loan Hack
Beanstalk Farms Loses $80M In A Massive DeFi Governance Flash-Loan Hack
April 23, 2022
Joon Pak Head of Crypto at Prove talks to Us about Crypto Fraud And More
April 11, 2022

Automated trading with HaasBot Crypto Trading Bots

Blockchain/Cryptocurrency Questions and Answers

Roundtable Interview-What is the Effect of The Russia-Ukraine War on Cryptocurrency Prices?
March 4, 2022
How Does Bitcoin Casino Work + 2021 Beginner’s Guide
November 8, 2021
How to Buy and Sell Cryptocurrency
November 8, 2021
What Are Bitcoin Futures And How Will They Work In 2022?
November 4, 2021
The Unconventional Guide to Ethereum
October 28, 2021

CryptoCurrencyUSDChange 1hChange 24hChange 7d
Bitcoin21,051 0.82 % 1.61 % 2.61 %
Ethereum1,192.6 1.95 % 3.02 % 5.94 %
Tether1.005 0.42 % 0.37 % 0.49 %
USD Coin0.9965 0.45 % 0.55 % 0.67 %
BNB234.03 1.56 % 2.74 % 8.97 %
XRP0.3578 0.97 % 2.41 % 9.86 %
Binance USD0.9923 0.77 % 0.93 % 0.96 %
Cardano0.4909 1.82 % 4.06 % 1.46 %
Solana39.05 2.39 % 5.04 % 14.20 %
Dogecoin0.07373 2.76 % 1.28 % 21.76 %

Bitcoin (BTC) $ 21,221.00
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,214.84
Tether (USDT) $ 0.998775
USD Coin (USDC) $ 0.999728
BNB (BNB) $ 237.67
XRP (XRP) $ 0.36192
Binance USD (BUSD) $ 1.00
Cardano (ADA) $ 0.500801
Solana (SOL) $ 40.13
Dogecoin (DOGE) $ 0.075724