FTC Sues D-Link Over Poor Security

We have complained in this blog about the plethora of Internet connected IoT devices that are being sold without anything approaching meaningful security to an unsuspecting public. A notable exploitation of IoT devices was behind the Mirai botnet, which shut down significant parts of the Internet for a couple of days.

But other disasters await, for instance, the easy access of web cams from the Internet means that things like baby monitors may be monitored by hackers.  Or hijacking your ISP’s router so the attacker could redirect your connection to your banking website to a fake site where they can steal your user ID and password.

The Federal Trade Commission has opened a lawsuit against D-Link for failing to properly secure many of their network connectable products.  The suit alleges that:

“a. Defendants repeatedly have failed to take reasonable software testing and remediation measures to protect their routers and IP cameras against wellknown and easily preventable software security flaws, such as “hard-coded” user credentials and other backdoors, and command injection flaws, which would allow remote attackers to gain control of consumers’ devices;

b. Defendant D-Link has failed to take reasonable steps to maintain the confidentiality of the private key that Defendant D-Link used to sign Defendants’ software, including by failing to adequately restrict, monitor, and oversee handling of the key, resulting in the exposure of the private key on a public website for approximately six months; and

c. Defendants have failed to use free software, available since at least 2008, to secure users’ mobile app login credentials, and instead have stored those credentials in clear, readable text on a user’s mobile device.”

While we generally dislike when government intrudes into business, in this case we have a company that is flagrantly disregarding the simple fundamentals required to secure their equipment from misuse by malicious attackers.  So in this case, we applaud the action, and hope it serves as a wake up call to the other manufacturers who are not paying attention to security when they design their marvelous devices.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity guru to business owners in the St Paul, Minneapolis, and western Wisconsin area. Computer security and hacking have been a passion of mine since I entered the computer and networking business in 2000. In 2013 I completed a course of study and certification exam to become a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). In 2016 I was certified as a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP). As Senior Cybersecurity Engineer at Computer Integration Technologies, I help our clients experience high levels of computer security, network security, and web site security. In addition to consulting on security products and services, we also conduct security audits, vulnerability assessments and full penetration tests. We also provide Cybersecurity Awareness Training for clients and their employees. We also work with companies and organizations that need to certify compliance with regulations such as PCI-DSS (credit card processing), HIPAA/HITECH (medical records), and GLBA. The views expressed on this Web site are mine alone and do not necessarily represent the views of my employer.

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