Security researchers discovered a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in more than a million gigabit passive optical network (GPON) home routers. The vulnerability easily lets an attacker bypass the login authentication page by modifying the URL in the browser's address bar, allowing almost complete access to the router. According to Shodan, the search engine used to find connected devices around the world, half of the vulnerable routers are located in Mexico, while the remaining half is in Kazakhstan and Vietnam.
Researchers conducted a comprehensive assessment of the routers manufactured by Dasan Networks and found that CVE-2018-10561 allows anyone to skip the authentication pages by adding “?images/” to the end of any of the router’s configuration pages’ web address. The flaw also allowed the researchers to exploit a command injection vulnerability, remotely executing other commands on the device and the network through the modified DNS settings.
GPON is a passive optical network commonly used in fiber routers for the hi-speed internet connection it affords users and all connected devices through fiber optics. The ISPs provide the routers to their subscribers and are usually assigned default usernames and passwords. This makes it easier for hackers to hijack the firmware and add the router to botnets, perform man-in-the-middle attacks, or steal information to use for other digital extortion and cyberespionage purposes.
South Korean company Dasan Networks manufactured the said routers, but could not be reached. According to a local publication in 2016, the company is the world’s sixth largest GPON router provider and available in more than 60 countries. Threat actors have been known to target the company's devices in the past — likely because the company was said to have ignored some disclosed vulnerabilities found in their products.
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