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Security Flaws In a Popular Smart Home Hub Let Hackers Unlock Front Doors

In new research published Tuesday, security researchers Chase Dardaman and Jason Wheeler found three security flaws which, when chained together, could be abused to open a front door with a smart lock. TechCrunch reports: Dardaman and Wheeler began looking into the ZipaMicro, a popular smart home hub developed by Croatian firm Zipato, some months ago, but only released their findings once the flaws had been fixed. The researchers found they could extract the hub’s private SSH key for “root” — the user account with the highest level of access — from the memory card on the device. Anyone with the private key could access a device without needing a password, said Wheeler. They later discovered that the private SSH key was hardcoded in every hub sold to customers — putting at risk every home with the same hub installed.

Using that private key, the researchers downloaded a file from the device containing scrambled passwords used to access the hub. They found that the smart hub uses a “pass-the-hash” authentication system, which doesn’t require knowing the user’s plaintext password, only the scrambled version. By taking the scrambled password and passing it to the smart hub, the researchers could trick the device into thinking they were the homeowner. All an attacker had to do was send a command to tell the lock to open or close. With just a few lines of code, the researchers built a script that locked and unlocked a smart lock connected to a vulnerable smart hub.


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