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This unpatched DNS bug could put 'well-known' IoT devices at risk

  • 4 mths ago

Researchers at IoT security firm Nozomi Networks are warning that a popular library for the C programming language for IoT products is vulnerable to DNS cache-poisoning attacks. The bug is 10 years old and, at present, could not be fixed by its maintainers.

Nozomi security researcher Andrea Palanca discovered that the Domain Name System (DNS) implementation of uClibc and uClibc-ng C libraries used in several popular IoT products generates predictable, incremental transaction identifiers (IDs) in DNS response and request network communications.       

uClibc stopped being maintained in 2012 after the release of version uClibc-, while the uClibc-ng fork is designed for use within OpenWRT, a common OS for routers "possibly deployed throughout various critical infrastructure sectors", according to Palanca.

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uClibc is also known to be used by Linksys, Netgear, and Axis, and Linux distributions, such as Embedded Gentoo, notes Palanca.

Nozomi has opted not to disclose the specific IoT devices it tested because the bug is unpatched. However, Palanca notes the devices tested were "a range of well-known IoT devices running the latest firmware versions with a high chance of them being deployed throughout all critical infrastructure." 

The uClibc-ng fork is a small C library for developing embedded Linux systems with the advantage of being much smaller than the GNU C Library (glibc). 

Palanca says he reported the issue to ICS-CERT in September to undertake a VINCE (Vulnerability Information and Coordination Environment) case with CERT/CC. In April, CERT/CC approved his request to proceed with vulnerability disclosure on May 2. The issue is being tracked as ICS-VU-638779, VU#473698. 

CERT/CC invited uClibc-ng's maintainer to the VINCE case in mid-March but the developer said he was unable to implement the fix himself and suggested sharing the vulnerability report on the mailing list with a "rather small community" that might be able to help implement a fix.

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