A security researcher has found several vulnerabilities in a number of Ruckus wireless routers, which the networking giant has since patched.
Gal Zror told TechCrunch that the vulnerabilities he found lie inside in the web user interface software that runs on the company's Unleashed line of routers.
The flaws can be exploited without needing a router's password, and can be used to take complete control of affected routers from over the internet.
Routers act as a gateway between a home or office network and the wider internet. Routers are also a major line of defense against unauthorized access to that network. But routers can be a single point of failure. If attackers find and take advantage of vulnerabilities in the router's software, they can control the device and gain access to the wider internal network, exposing computers and other devices to hacks and data theft.
Zror said his three vulnerabilities can be used to to gain "root" privileges on the router — the highest level of access — allowing the attacker unfettered access to the device and the network.
Although the three vulnerabilities vary by difficulty to exploit, the easiest of the vulnerabilities uses just a single line of code, Zror said.
With complete control of a router, an attacker can see all of the network's unencrypted internet traffic. An attacker also can silently re-route traffic from users on the network to malicious pages that are designed to steal usernames and passwords.
Zror said that because many of the routers are accessible from the internet, they make "very good candidates for botnets." That's when an attacker forcibly enlists a vulnerable router — or any other internet-connected device — into its own distributed network, controlled by a malicious actor, which can be collectively told to pummel websites and other networks with massive amounts of junk traffic, knocking them offline.
There are "thousands" of vulnerable Ruckus routers on the internet, said Zror. He revealed his findings at the annual Chaos Communication Congress conference in Germany.
Ruckus told TechCrunch it fixed the vulnerabilities in the 220.127.116.11.92 software update, but said that customers have to update their vulnerable devices themselves.
"By design our devices do not fetch and install software automatically to ensure our customers can manage their networks appropriately," said Ruckus spokesperson Aharon Etengoff. "We are strongly advising our customers and partners to deploy the latest firmware releases as soon as possible to mitigate these vulnerabilities," he said.
Ruckus confirmed its SmartZone-enabled devices and Ruckus Cloud access points are not vulnerable.
"It's very important for the customers to know that if they're running an old version [of the software], they might be super vulnerable to this very simple attack," said Zror.