Exploiting Embedded Systems – Part 3

In part 2 of this series we found a SQL injection vulnerability using static analysis. However, it is often advantageous to debug a target application, a capability that we’ll need when working with more complex exploits later on.

In this segment we won’t be discovering any new vulnerabilities, but instead we will focus on configuring and using our debugging environment. For this we will be using Qemu and the IDA Pro debugger. If you don’t have IDA you can use insight/ddd/gdb instead, but in my experience IDA is far superior when it comes to embedded debugging.

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Exploiting Embedded Systems – Part 2

In part 1 we used the TEW-654TR’s TFTP service to retrieve the administrative credentials to our target system.

But what if we didn’t have access to the TFTP service? Many embedded devices don’t have a TFTP service, or there may be a firewall between us and the target that blocks traffic to UDP port 69. In this case, we’ll have to take a closer look at the web application running on the target.

Burpsuite Login

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Exploiting Embedded Systems – Part 1

So far our tutorials have focused on extracting file systems, kernels and code from firmware images. Once we have a firmware image dissected into something we can work with, the next step is to analyze it for vulnerabilities.

Our target is going to be the Trendnet TEW-654TR. We’ll be examining many different security holes in this device, but for part 1 we will focus on gaining initial access given only a login page and nothing more. We will assume that we do not have physical access to the target device, nor to any other device for testing or analysis.

If you don’t already have them, you will need to install binwalk and the firmware mod kit.


Let’s get started!

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Modifying The DD-WRT GUI

Although released under the GPL, DD-WRT is notoriously difficult to build from source. If you want to customize your DD-WRT installation, it is usually easier to extract files from the firmware image, change what you need, and then re-construct the image.

One exception here is the Web GUI. The DD-WRT Web pages (*.asp, *.htm, *.gif, *.css) in each firmware image are protected in order to prevent modification. Being able to customize the Web interface can be advantageous for those wishing to add compatibility with mobile/uncommon browsers, change themes, add links, etc.

And, despite claims to the contrary, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.

DD-WRT Sporting the Hack-A-Day Logo

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Reverse Engineering Firmware: Linksys WAG120N

The ability to analyze a firmware image and extract data from it is extremely useful. It can allow you to analyze an embedded device for bugs, vulnerabilities, or GPL violations without ever having access to the device.

In this tutorial, we’ll be examining the firmware update file for the Linksys WAG120N with the intent of finding and extracting the kernel and file system from the firmware image. The firmware image used is for the WAG120N hardware version 1.0, firmware version 1.00.16 (ETSI) Annex B, released on 08/16/2010 and is currently available for download from the Linksys Web site.

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Embedded Code Reuse

When examining embedded devices, it is not uncommon to find that two or more of them share common code, and even common hardware. This probably comes as no surprise, as re-using code and hardware designs helps lower production costs. What might be a little more surprising is when you find two devices from two different vendors that share the same code or hardware.

It’s important to be able to identify devices that use the same code or design. If you find a bug or vulnerability in one device, it’s likely that it affects other devices as well. Likewise, if you are having trouble reversing or analyzing a particular device, work that others have done on similar products can help put you on the right track.

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