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Microsoft Discovers 25 Critical Vulnerabilities in IoT Security Affecting Google, Amazon, Samsung, and Other Devices, SDKs and Libraries

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Microsoft Section 52 research team discovered 25 critical vulnerabilities affecting various internet of things (IoT) and operational technology (OT) devices.

The Azure Defender for IoT security group warned that threat actors could exploit the critical memory allocation vulnerabilities to bypass various security controls and execute malicious codes remotely.

The security flaws dubbed “BadAlloc” affect several vendors’ devices in a wide range of domains including consumer electronics, medical IoT, and industrial control (ICS) systems.

Lack of input validation responsible for IoT security critical vulnerabilities

Microsoft’s research team noted that various IoT device vendors failed to implement input validation allowing attackers to inject malicious code.

“Our research shows that memory allocation implementations written throughout the years as part of IoT devices and embedded software have not incorporated proper input validations,” the report stated. “Without these input validations, an attacker could exploit the memory allocation function to perform a heap overflow, resulting in execution of malicious code on a target device.”

The researchers added that the critical memory allocation vulnerabilities stem from the usage of vulnerable memory functions such as malloc, calloc, realloc, memalign, valloc, pvalloc, and others to allocate memory.

The IoT security critical vulnerabilities can be triggered by calling the vulnerable function and passing a parameter from an external input, for example, malloc(MALICIOUS_INPUT). The parameter must be large enough to trigger an overflow, system crash, or a workaround.

Memory allocation problem systemic across devices and implementations

The researchers found that the memory allocation problem persisted across various areas including the C standard library (libc), real-time operating systems (RTOS), and embedded software development kits (SDKs).

Microsoft researchers noted that they had not observed real-world exploitation of the IoT security critical vulnerabilities. However, they noted that if successfully exploited, they posed significant risks to all types of organizations.

Microsoft informed the Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Infrastructure and Security Agency (DHS-CISA) of the IoT security critical vulnerabilities. They also disclosed their findings to device vendors allowing them to further investigate the problem.

DHS-CISA released a list of vulnerable devices, including Amazon, ARM, Samsung, Texas Instruments, among others. Affected SDKs include Google Cloud IoT Device SDK and Media Tek LinkIt SDK before v. 4.6.1. Real-time and IoT operating systems containing BadAlloc bugs include Amazon FreeRTOS, v. 10.4.1, Samsung Tizen RT RTOS before version 3.9.GBB, and Apache Nuttx OS, Version 9.1.0.

Some vendors uninterested in patching the IoT security flaws

Fifteen devices released patches for the critical IoT security flaws, while others have planned fix releases.

Surprisingly, some device vendors do not plan to patch the exposed IoT security critical vulnerabilities. However, system administrators can apply various mitigations recommended by CISA and Microsoft for minimizing network exposure.

Suggested mitigations include network segmentation, isolating vulnerable networks and devices, and setting various firewall rules.

The researchers also recommended continuous network monitoring for suspicious behaviors such as requests to unknown remote hosts.

Additionally, network administrators could disconnect OT devices or use VPNs with an additional layer of security, such as multi-factor authentication. The extra security layer is necessary because VPN appliances could have various critical vulnerabilities, thus further exposing the networks.

Commenting on IoT security flaws, Tal Ben-David, VP R&D and co-founder of Karamba Security, said:

“Manufacturers can’t assert that such third-party OS and libraries are black boxes to them. Given the mission critical and life, risking devices that are affected by the reported vulnerabilities, IoT and Edge device manufacturers can leverage the deterministic nature of such devices and protect them against the exploitation of hidden issues in their binaries and in the OS and third-party software that they use.”

He suggested that organizations could prevent threat actors from exploiting the IoT security vulnerabilities by “adding deterministic runtime defense controls” such as data execution prevention and control flow integrity.

“Most of the announced vulnerabilities will not be trivial to exploit (only one of them received a Critical CVSS score),” Ilya Khivrich, Chief Scientist at Vdoo, said. “More importantly, the practical exploitability of the vulnerabilities will depend on the code using the memory allocation libraries which in which the bugs were found.”

Khivrich added that the discovery of the 25 critical vulnerabilities highlighted the importance of understanding the software components present in devices and their configurations.

“The discovered vulnerabilities cover quite a large range of platforms commonly used in IoT devices, and verifying the used library versions and applying updates or patches will be the most important step. In order to identify similar additional vulnerabilities in these and other libraries, companies should use in-depth testing techniques such as API fuzzing.”


Microsoft found 25 #IoT critical vulnerabilities originating from vulnerable SDKs, real-time operating systems (RTOS), and the C standard library. #cybersecurity #respectdata

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“The vulnerabilities presented by Microsoft’s Section 52 affecting the memory allocators are a perfect example of how security issues that have been solved in consumer operating systems years ago, are still very present in the OT world,” said Andrea Carcano, Co-Founder of Nozomi Networks.

This content was originally published here.

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Precision agriculture using AI and IoT to usher in the next revolution in food security

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Micromanagement of every aspect of the field being used for your crops is called precision agriculture. It includes mapping of the field in terms of disparities within the field or with other fields around it, the sun light variation across the year, wind patterns, rain predictions and other seasonal effects. To do that, feed from weather stations, Remote sensing equipment, GIS and GPS may be used.

Another key feature of precision farming is having a trained software module on the specific crop being planned in that field. This software module has an understanding about the growth patterns of that crop, possible diseases that are related to that crop, prescriptions of specific fertilizer or pesticides depending upon the disease pattern, and prediction of disease depending upon the growth of leaves or size or colour of the plant.

It uses feed sensors, weight sensors, soil sensors, temperature sensors, intensity sensors and multiple types of cameras. All these sensors may be deployed on a machine. This machine can be a low flying drone or a small robot moving through the field. Based on the crop and the size of the plants, the robot height and size can be manoeuvred. This robot or drone will have multiple compartments full of different ingredients required for the plants. One box may contain water, another may have pesticides, another may have fertilizer and so on. Based on the real feedback of different sensors, the software module will process that information according to the trained AI model installed on that robot or drone. Depending upon the necessary trigger, instructions will follow, and the robot will discharge specific amount of pesticides or fertilizer or water etc.

This whole mechanism may look like a complex process for small and medium level farmers, but that is not the case. Just like farmers currently hire big machines for sowing and cutting the crops, they will be able to hire different kinds of robots for their specific crops. Initially the cost will be high, but eventually, when this becomes a standard practice, the cost will come down with volume and scale.

The end user will not be required to understand or learn about these complex systems. They will just employ these systems like we use washing machines without understanding the mechanical engineering behind their working. The farmer will only need to follow some simple and clear instructions and press a few buttons.

While its execution will be simple, the advantages of precision farming are many and varied. End-to-end efficiency and decrease in wastage/loss of the yield due to disease etc will lead to an increase in crop-yield. Another advantage is the huge saving in inputs: currently, farmers waste a lot of water, pesticides, and fertilizers because these are thrown all over the field, a significant portion of which is not used by the plants. With robots in the field, only the required resources will be given near the roots of the plants, which will save a lot of resources. It will also result in a lot of data inputs across the fields, regions, and geographies, which will result in better policy decision regarding which crops to be promoted, pricing of the output, availability of markets for the produce, value enhancement products in the food chain etc.

Many people may be worried about the impact of such technologies on the job market for agriculture workers. It will result in net additional jobs in this sector. Many hands will be required for maintenance, operations, storage, production, marketing of these variety of robots and drones. The only challenge is that existing agriculture workers will be required to undergo training to work on these modern machines, which will require huge efforts on the part of the trainers as well as the farmers. So, in conclusion precision farming is going to be the next big thing in the domain of agriculture which will have significant impact on economy, food reliance and modern society.



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IoT Security In The Spotlight, As Research Highlights Alexa Security Flaws | Information Security Buzz

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Last week, IoT security was in the spotlight again as researchers warned that Amazon’s Alexa is vulnerable to malicious third-party apps, or “skills”, that could leave owners at risk of a wide range of cyberattacks.

Researchers analyzed 90,194 unique skills from Amazon’s skill stores across seven countries and found widespread security issues that could lead to phishing attacks or the ability to trick Alexa users into revealing sensitive information.

For instance, developers can register skills that fraudulently use well-known company names, and leverage these fake brand names to send out phishing emails that link to the skill’s Amazon store webpage. Attackers can also make code changes after their skills have been approved by Amazon, opening the door for various malicious configurations.

VP of IoT
Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates.

Continued innovation in the Internet of Things technology has propelled us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is undoubtedly valuable for consumers and businesses alike.

However, as this research into Alexa’s vulnerabilities has shown, we can’t be oblivious to the security risks that go hand-in-hand with introducing such a large number of devices into the ecosystem. Left unchecked, this presents a huge security risk. While there are many potential threats to IoT devices, a common

…..

Continued innovation in the Internet of Things technology has propelled us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is undoubtedly valuable for consumers and businesses alike.

However, as this research into Alexa’s vulnerabilities has shown, we can’t be oblivious to the security risks that go hand-in-hand with introducing such a large number of devices into the ecosystem. Left unchecked, this presents a huge security risk. While there are many potential threats to IoT devices, a common thread in IoT security weakness is the lack of strong authentication.

As attack vectors continue to evolve, it is increasingly critical that organizations embrace security solutions that ensure the integrity and security of their IoT systems. Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates – ensuring only authentic code can be installed on the device. For a complex system such as Alexa’s Skills that involve the Alexa platform, third-party apps and third-party cloud services – a comprehensive approach to ensuring the security of the ecosystem is essential.

@Alan Grau, VP of IoT , provides expert commentary for “dot your expert comments” at @Information Security Buzz.
“Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates….”
#infosec #cybersecurity #isdots
https://informationsecuritybuzz.com/expert-comments/iot-security-in-the-spotlight-as-research-highlights-alexa-security-flaws

@Alan Grau, VP of IoT , provides expert commentary for “dot your expert comments” at @Information Security Buzz.
“Best-practices for IoT device security include strong authentication and secure software updates….”
#infosec #cybersecurity #isdots
https://informationsecuritybuzz.com/expert-comments/iot-security-in-the-spotlight-as-research-highlights-alexa-security-flaws

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Is Biden’s Peloton Bike an IoT Cybersecurity Risk? – Security Boulevard

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Is Every Connected Device in a Staffer’s Home an IoT Cybersecurity Risk?

Most folks are still working from home at least some of the time. That creates a number of challenges for IT departments around cybersecurity and smart devices. As our lives become ever more connected to the internet through everything from smartphones to smart bikes, it’s important to remember that even the most humble internet-connected device can be a security risk. Many business IT teams are still coming to terms with that increased Internet-of-Things (IoT) cybersecurity risk and how to mitigate it.

If Cybersecurity is Like a Game, Shouldn’t You Play to Win? Here’s How to Do It.

IoT Devices (and Risks) Are Proliferating

During the last year, as we all spent more time at home, many folks discovered that they could make their home lives a little more pleasant with IoT devices. Experts estimate that more than 26.66 billion IoT devices are active in 2020, with 127 new IoT devices connecting to the internet every second. However, researchers also report that IoT devices face 5,200 attacks a month. That means that organizations need to keep IoT security top of mind as their security posture evolves.

Including the White House. The original work from home example, the President’s House is also home to one of the world’s most secure and sensitive networks. As new First Families with an increasing number of IoT devices move in, like President Biden and his Peloton bike, the White House cybersecurity team is faced with the same dilemma as many businesses: how to secure their IT environment against the potential risk.

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How to Mitigate the Risk

In the case of the President’s bike, the Secret Service and the National Security Agency (NSA) will make changes to both the physical structure and the IT capability as well as enacting strong access control policies and tools in order to mitigate the risk. Cameras and microphones will be removed, and a constant series of password changes will help blunt the possibility of foreign agents hacking into President Biden’s Peloton. This tracks with the advice given by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

But most companies don’t need to go that far when securing their environments against IoT risks. Businesses can keep their networks safe and employees can enjoy their IoT devices without taking drastic measures or spending a fortune. While cybercrime risks continue to climb across the board, by taking sensible precautions, organizations can secure their systems and data from many of the pitfalls that arise from remote working IoT cybersecurity risks quickly and affordably.

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Add a Universal Mitigation Now

One key to mitigating IoT risk and remaining cyber resilient as an organization is maintaining strong access point control. It’s not just a fantastic mitigation for IoT risk either. Strong access point control is essential for mitigating all types of cybersecurity risk – and secure identity and access management with a solution like Passly is an effective, cost-effective way to implement it in a flash.

Passly brings major weapons against intrusion to the fight with multifactor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO), and secure shared password vaults. MFA is a must-have in today’s rapidly evolving threat landscape – it has been proven to block up to 99.9% of common cyberattacks from getting through to business systems. Back that up with single sign-on that empowers your IT team to add and remove permissions fast in case of compromise and secure shared password vaults to make sure that your team can easily respond to emergencies remotely, and you’ve added a huge amount of security strength for a small price.

Contact ID Agent’s experts today to add Passly to your security stack or watch a video of Passly in action to see why it’s perfect for every business.

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