Hack In The Box: researcher reveals ease of Huawei router access

Researcher Felix "FX" Lindner has just revealed to attendees of his talk at security conference Hack In The Box how easy it is to gain access to Huawei routers and telco equipment, spelling out how backdoor access is not necessary if an attacker wants to get in and access traffic that runs through them.

He told the packed room in Kuala Lumpur, "I don't know if there are backdoors - but it doesn't matter since there are so many vulnerabilities."

More from Hack In The Box:

Lindner showed that code running the routers - used by billions worldwide - is shockingly dated and riddled with security holes. While he says he has not found any new vulnerabilities per se, he says he has discovered some revelatory "special features."

These "special features" include the telco's bootloader protection - where one would set a password to protect against loading new software. 

Huawei's bootloader protection apparently has a static password across the board in its routers that can't be disabled - though physical access is key to the attack.

Lindner had a slide with examples of actual current Huawei router passwords, with amusing words such as "supperman."

See also: More transparency needed from Chinese tech vendors | US report catalyst for complaints against Huawei, ZTE | The Huawei dilemma: Should the UK be worried? | Huawei fires back at Congress: 'Customers know and trust us' | Can Huawei crack the U.S. data center market?

There were more revelations in Lindner's talk, including the fact that if you have a home Huawei router that your ISP doesn't want you to have access to, all you need is a serial cable.

Unbeknownst to nearly everyone, three representatives from Huawei were in the audience. They were not amused and left the talk quickly the minute Lindner concluded.

Huawei routers

Lindner made headlines after Defcon in July when he presented a talk showing Chinese Huawei routers to be so riddled with security holes that they were fairly trivial - potentially ideal - for attackers to reconfigure, intercept, monitor and alter all traffic that runs through them.

Chinese Huawei routers are used by billions of people worldwide, Huawei is the second-largest telecommunications firm in the world and it is considered the fastest-growing router manufacturer in the world.

This Monday Congress issued a report raising concerns about national security in relation to Huawei's suspected role in using technology to help the Chinese government expand its overseas spying operations.

The House Intelligence Committee released the findings Monday and has urged U.S. companies doing business with Huawei to use another vendor.

The Atlantic reports,


Response to the Presentation about Huawei Product in HITB SecConf 2012

        Huawei Product Security Incident Response Team (PSIRT) noticed today that a security researcher Felix 'FX' Lindner made a presentation on the security of Huawei products in HITB SecConf 2012 in Malaysia. Huawei PSIRT is now analyzing and evaluating related information.
     Huawei PSIRT hereby expresses the gratitude to Felix and other security researchers for their concerns on Huawei products and help in improving the product security.  We welcome any report of security vulnerabilities of Huawei products through [email protected] to Huawei PSIRT.