(NDJ) – Security researchers at the security software company Rapid7 warn that 40 million to 50 million devices, including printers, personal computers and storage devices used in a network environment are exposed to bugs that allow hackers to access those devices over the internet.
NDJ World | Published: Jan 30 2013 High Tech→Lifestyle
The researchers claim that routers, used to connect several devices together to form a network, pose a real safety threat because the routers use a commonly employed standard known as Universal Plug and Play or UPnP.
The company said on Tuesday that it identified three separate sets of problems with the UPnP standard, which could allow hackers to access confidential files, steal passwords, take full control over PCs as well as remotely access devices such as webcams, printers and security systems.
“This is the most pervasive bug I’ve ever seen,” HD Moore, chief technology officer for Rapid7, told Reuters late on Monday US time.
Moore, who created a widely used platform known as Metasploit that allows security experts to simulate network attacks, said that there were bugs in most of the devices he tested and that device manufacturers will need to release software updates to remedy the problems but warned that this is unlikely to happen quickly.
In the interim, Moore advised computer users to use a free tool released by Rapid7 to identify vulnerable gear, then disable the UPnP functionality in that equipment.
Rapid7 has privately alerted electronics makers about the problem through the CERT Coordination Center, a group at the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute that helps researchers report vulnerabilities to affected companies.
The long list of devices includes products from manufacturers including Belkin, D-Link, Cisco’s Linksys division and Netgear.
Representatives for Belkin, D-Link, Linksys and Netgear could not be reached for comment on Monday evening US time.
Contribution: Jim Finkle REUTERS
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