Breaking SSL on Embedded Devices

No, this is not some new SSL vulnerability. In fact, it’s a really old vulnerability, as old as cryptography itself: keep your secret keys secret.

A lot of embedded devices provide HTTPS support so that administrators can administer the devices securely over untrusted networks. Some devices, such as SSL VPNs, center their entire functionality around SSL encryption. OK, well SSL isn’t perfect, but it’s still the de facto standard for Web-based encryption. So far, so good.

Here’s where it gets fun: many of these devices use hard-coded SSL keys that are baked into the firmware. That means that if Alice and Bob are both using the same router with the same firmware version, then both of their routers have the same SSL keys. All Eve needs to do in order to decrypt their traffic is to download the firmware from the vendor’s Web site and extract the SSL private key from the firmware image.

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