Belkin WeMo Home Automation Products Are Not Safe, Security Researchers Claim

Security firm IOActive issued a surprise advisory Tuesday urging Belkin WeMo customers to halt use of their smart home products, thanks to its discovery of several vulnerabilities hackers could use to infiltrate home networks and connected home appliances, including thermostats, lights and other devices. 

According to a report by Ars Technica, multiple notifications were sent to Belkin from IOActive as well as the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), but its failure to respond or address the holes—which include insufficient data encryption, insecure delivery of software updates and other issues—compelled the security researchers to issue the stern warning. 

Update Feb 19, 2014 10:00AM PST: According to a ZDNet report, Belkin issued a statement late Tuesday indicating that the company had been in touch with IOActive before the advisory went out and patched five security holes. 

ReadWrite reached out to Belkin via email,and the company said it has already addressed security flaws in its WeMo API server, WeMo firmware and WeMo apps, and that products with the recent firmware release (version 3949) are not vulnerable to malicious firmware attacks, including remote control or unauthorized monitoring of WeMo devices.

The company provided the following information: 

Belkin has corrected the list of five potential vulnerabilities affecting the WeMo line of home automation solutions that was published in a CERT advisory on February 18. Belkin was in contact with the security researchers prior to the publication of the advisory, and, as of February 18, had already issued fixes for each of the noted potential vulnerabilities via in-app notifications and updates. Users with the most recent firmware release (version 3949) are not at risk for malicious firmware attacks or remote control or monitoring of WeMo devices from unauthorized devices as described in the report. Belkin urges such users to download the latest app from the App Store (version 1.4.2) or Google Play Store (version 1.1.2) and then upgrade the firmware version through the app.

Specific fixes Belkin has issued include:

1) An update to the WeMo API server on November 5, 2013 that prevents an XML injection attack from gaining access to other WeMo devices.

2) An update to the WeMo firmware, published on January 24, 2014, that adds SSL encryption and validation to the WeMo firmware distribution feed, eliminates storage of the signing key on the device, and password protects the serial port interface to prevent a malicious firmware attack

3) An update to the WeMo app for both iOS (published on January 24, 2014) and Android (published on February 10, 2014) that contains the most recent firmware update

The post will be updated if more information becomes available. 

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