Pwning the Pawns with WiHawk presented at AppSecUSA 2014

by Santhosh Kumar,

Summary : The elements that play a major role in today’s network architecture are router, gateway, switch, hub, access point etc. In a typical network, wireless or wired router is the key element responsible for connecting the LAN to the internet. A router can be connected to two or more data lines from different network which play the important role of forwarding data packets within computer networks. Security measures at each and every component in network are imperative and there has been significant development in last decade to make networks even more secure. While powerful security rules have been implied at different components of network, router has been one such sensitive and essential element in network which is still poorly configured by companies. They can be compromised by attackers to gain unauthorized access to the private network and can lead to malicious activities like following:
1. An attacker could configure the router to use a malicious DNS (Domain Name System) server, which can then lead to redirection of users to malicious websites.
2. An attacker can set up port forwarding rules to expose internal network services to the Internet.
Vulnerabilities in the management interfaces of wireless routers, vulnerabilities in protocols, inconsistencies in router software and weak authentication can expose the device to remote attacks and thus can be compromised by attackers. These issues had been raised by researchers in late 2012 but even if companies provide patches to upgrade management interface and inconsistencies in router software, these vulnerabilities are unlikely to go away soon because many users never update their routers and other embedded systems.