Internet of Things devices are security-challenged enough, but they’re also being massively exposed on the public Internet – this time via MQTT communications, a researcher will show at Black Hat USA.
An oft-forgotten 90s-era communications protocol now becoming prevalent in the Internet of Things realm can easily be manipulated via the public Internet to snoop on and even sabotage power plant equipment, ATM machines, and other connected devices.
Security researcher Lucas Lundgren via an Internet scan last year found around 65,000 IoT servers using the Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) worldwide on the public Internet wide open to attack with no authentication nor encrypted communication, findings he revealed last August at DEF CON. Later this month at Black Hat USA in Las Vegas, Lundgren plans to demonstrate how an attacker could compromise exposed MQTT-based servers and issue phony commands in order to alter their operation or outcomes of their IoT-attached equipment.
Lundgren also will release a brute-force hacking tool during his Black Hat session Taking Over the World Through MQTT – Aftermath. The tool, which was written by a friend of Lundgren’s, raises the stakes and cracks MQTT servers that actually employ recommended username and password protection. According to Lundgren, of the tens of thousands he first scanned, just two at the time were protected with authentication, and he was able to access many of them by subscribing to their so-called hashtag feeds that are basically their communications channels.
MQTT is a lightweight, machine-to-machine messaging protocol created in 1999 as a way for low-bandwidth communication such as satellite, and since has emerged as a staple for IoT devices that require infrequent or intermittent Internet access.
For Full Story, Please click here.