Matthew Garrett ([personal profile] mjg59) wrote2016-06-21 03:13 pm
Entry tags:

I've bought some more awful IoT stuff

I bought some awful WiFi lightbulbs a few months ago. The short version: they introduced terrible vulnerabilities on your network, they violated the GPL and they were also just bad at being lightbulbs. Since then I've bought some other Internet of Things devices, and since people seem to have a bizarre level of fascination with figuring out just what kind of fractal of poor design choices these things frequently embody, I thought I'd oblige.

Today we're going to be talking about the KanKun SP3, a plug that's been around for a while. The idea here is pretty simple - there's lots of devices that you'd like to be able to turn on and off in a programmatic way, and rather than rewiring them the simplest thing to do is just to insert a control device in between the wall and the device andn ow you can turn your foot bath on and off from your phone. Most vendors go further and also allow you to program timers and even provide some sort of remote tunneling protocol so you can turn off your lights from the comfort of somebody else's home.

The KanKun has all of these features and a bunch more, although when I say "features" I kind of mean the opposite. I plugged mine in and followed the install instructions. As is pretty typical, this took the form of the plug bringing up its own Wifi access point, the app on the phone connecting to it and sending configuration data, and the plug then using that data to join your network. Except it didn't work. I connected to the plug's network, gave it my SSID and password and waited. Nothing happened. No useful diagnostic data. Eventually I plugged my phone into my laptop and ran adb logcat, and the Android debug logs told me that the app was trying to modify a network that it hadn't created. Apparently this isn't permitted as of Android 6, but the app was handling this denial by just trying again. I deleted the network from the system settings, restarted the app, and this time the app created the network record and could modify it. It still didn't work, but that's because it let me give it a 5GHz network and it only has a 2.4GHz radio, so one reset later and I finally had it online.

The first thing I normally do to one of these things is run nmap with the -O argument, which gives you an indication of what OS it's running. I didn't really need to in this case, because if I just telnetted to port 22 I got a dropbear ssh banner. Googling turned up the root password ("p9z34c") and I was logged into a lightly hacked (and fairly obsolete) OpenWRT environment.

It turns out that here's a whole community of people playing with these plugs, and it's common for people to install CGI scripts on them so they can turn them on and off via an API. At first this sounds somewhat confusing, because if the phone app can control the plug then there clearly is some kind of API, right? Well ha yeah ok that's a great question and oh good lord do things start getting bad quickly at this point.

I'd grabbed the apk for the app and a copy of jadx, an incredibly useful piece of code that's surprisingly good at turning compiled Android apps into something resembling Java source. I dug through that for a while before figuring out that before packets were being sent, they were being handed off to some sort of encryption code. I couldn't find that in the app, but there was a native ARM library shipped with it. Running strings on that showed functions with names matching the calls in the Java code, so that made sense. There were also references to AES, which explained why when I ran tcpdump I only saw bizarre garbage packets.

But what was surprising was that most of these packets were substantially similar. There were a load that were identical other than a 16-byte chunk in the middle. That plus the fact that every payload length was a multiple of 16 bytes strongly indicated that AES was being used in ECB mode. In ECB mode each plaintext is split up into 16-byte chunks and encrypted with the same key. The same plaintext will always result in the same encrypted output. This implied that the packets were substantially similar and that the encryption key was static.

Some more digging showed that someone had figured out the encryption key last year, and that someone else had written some tools to control the plug without needing to modify it. The protocol is basically ascii and consists mostly of the MAC address of the target device, a password and a command. This is then encrypted and sent to the device's IP address. The device then sends a challenge packet containing a random number. The app has to decrypt this, obtain the random number, create a response, encrypt that and send it before the command takes effect. This avoids the most obvious weakness around using ECB - since the same plaintext always encrypts to the same ciphertext, you could just watch encrypted packets go past and replay them to get the same effect, even if you didn't have the encryption key. Using a random number in a challenge forces you to prove that you actually have the key.

At least, it would do if the numbers were actually random. It turns out that the plug is just calling rand(). Further, it turns out that it never calls srand(). This means that the plug will always generate the same sequence of challenges after a reboot, which means you can still carry out replay attacks if you can reboot the plug. Strong work.

But there was still the question of how the remote control works, since the code on github only worked locally. tcpdumping the traffic from the server and trying to decrypt it in the same way as local packets worked fine, and showed that the only difference was that the packet started "wan" rather than "lan". The server decrypts the packet, looks at the MAC address, re-encrypts it and sends it over the tunnel to the plug that registered with that address.

That's not really a great deal of authentication. The protocol permits a password, but the app doesn't insist on it - some quick playing suggests that about 90% of these devices still use the default password. And the devices are all based on the same wifi module, so the MAC addresses are all in the same range. The process of sending status check packets to the server with every MAC address wouldn't take that long and would tell you how many of these devices are out there. If they're using the default password, that's enough to have full control over them.

There's some other failings. The github repo mentioned earlier includes a script that allows arbitrary command execution - the wifi configuration information is passed to the system() command, so leaving a semicolon in the middle of it will result in your own commands being executed. Thankfully this doesn't seem to be true of the daemon that's listening for the remote control packets, which seems to restrict its use of system() to data entirely under its control. But even if you change the default root password, anyone on your local network can get root on the plug. So that's a thing. It also downloads firmware updates over http and doesn't appear to check signatures on them, so there's the potential for MITM attacks on the plug itself. The remote control server is on AWS unless your timezone is GMT+8, in which case it's in China. Sorry, Western Australia.

It's running Linux and includes Busybox and dnsmasq, so plenty of GPLed code. I emailed the manufacturer asking for a copy and got told that they wouldn't give it to me, which is unsurprising but still disappointing.

The use of AES is still somewhat confusing, given the relatively small amount of security it provides. One thing I've wondered is whether it's not actually intended to provide security at all. The remote servers need to accept connections from anywhere and funnel decent amounts of traffic around from phones to switches. If that weren't restricted in any way, competitors would be able to use existing servers rather than setting up their own. Using AES at least provides a minor obstacle that might encourage them to set up their own server.

Overall: the hardware seems fine, the software is shoddy and the security is terrible. If you have one of these, set a strong password. There's no rate-limiting on the server, so a weak password will be broken pretty quickly. It's also infringing my copyright, so I'd recommend against it on that point alone.

IoT hardware solution

(Anonymous) 2016-06-22 09:13 am (UTC)(link)
We have hardware solutions installed here. This consists of a special device on each electric socket called an 'on/off switch'. There are no issues with software, security, complexity of set up or GPL violations. In addition it helps reduce obesity by encouraging users to get up and walk across the room to operate the switch.

Re: IoT hardware solution

(Anonymous) 2016-06-23 03:56 am (UTC)(link)
These devices certainly are techno-douchebaggery at its most jaw dropping.

Re: IoT hardware solution

(Anonymous) 2016-06-25 08:10 pm (UTC)(link)
It doesn't require a lot of technical sophistication to use a remote-operated power switch. And it can be useful --- e.g. my mother uses one to turn on the water heater before taking a shower without having to walk to the basement. Are you saying this makes her a douchebag?
emperor: (Default)

[personal profile] emperor 2016-06-22 09:39 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you for buying awful IoT shit so we don't have to :-)
dottedmag: (Default)

[personal profile] dottedmag 2016-06-22 01:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Maybe there is a curated list of non-shitty IoT devices? Or at least the ones which can be made non-shitty by replacing firmware?
dottedmag: (Default)

[personal profile] dottedmag 2016-06-22 01:42 pm (UTC)(link)
There is, but it's all about boards and software, and not about sensors/actuators.

(Anonymous) 2016-07-08 02:56 pm (UTC)(link)
I forked his page last week to start adding more stuff to it.


(Anonymous) 2016-06-22 04:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Love every one of your posts. Thanks for shining the light on things with poor security. You are doing the Lord's work.

Re: Awesome

(Anonymous) 2016-06-22 07:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Yep. This is gonna be the 1980s and 90s all over again. Small address spaces, no ASLR, NX, etc. combined with crappy code running as root.

(Anonymous) 2016-06-23 12:24 am (UTC)(link)
I actually bought one of these units a while ago, never ended up using it but ssh'd into it, killed all the back to home processes and changed the root password. I was going to integrate it into my existing home automation system but never really had much of a use for it. The lack of insulation on the power pins also makes it illegal in Australia.


(Anonymous) 2016-06-23 03:23 am (UTC)(link)
Finally a place to see the solutions that are not great, so we can stay away.

Thank you,

Jason Lebrecht


(Anonymous) 2016-06-23 10:03 am (UTC)(link)
I am such a fan of your blog posts, I read and cherish them everytime, love it!

Sue 'em for GPL violations!

(Anonymous) 2016-07-06 05:38 pm (UTC)(link)
If they said "no" to sharing the code, threaten to sue them for violating the GPL. That'll raise some awareness.