Vulnerabilties Found in Realtek Module

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A new type of severe rated vulnerabilities has been revealed in the Realtek RTL8170C Wi-Fi module. A hacker could exploit these vulnerabilities to gain access to a device and attack wireless communications. According to experts Vdoo, an Israeli tech IoT firm, if an exploit is successful, it would result in control of complete WiFi module possible root access in the Linux or Android OS, of the embedded devices using this module. 

Hacker News reports “Realtek RTL8710C Wi-Fi SoC underpins Ameba, an Arduino-compatible programmable platform equipped with peripheral interfaces for building a variety of IoT applications by devices spanning across agriculture, automotive, energy, healthcare, industrial, security, and smart home sectors.” These vulnerabilities impact all IoT and embedded devices that use the module for connecting to Wi-Fi networks and the hacker would have to be on the same Wi-Fi network. It is because the firmware knows the network’s pre-shared key (PSK) or uses the RTL8710C module. 

PSK, as the name suggests, is a cryptographic code that is used to verify wireless devices on LANs. “In the same vein, the RTL8170C Wi-Fi module’s WPA2 four-way handshake mechanism is vulnerable to two stack-based buffer overflow vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-27301 and CVE-2020-27302, CVSS scores: 8.0) that abuse the attacker’s knowledge of the PSK to obtain remote code execution on WPA2 clients that use this Wi-Fi module,” reports The Hacker News. An earlier investigation in February revealed similar vulnerabilities in the Realtek RTL8195A Wi-Fi module, the primary one being a buffer overflow vulnerability (CVE-2020-9395). 

It allows a hacker who is in the range of an RTL8195 module to completely hijack the module, without needing a Wi-Fi password. In a possible real-world attack situation, experts performed a PoC (proof of concept) exploit where the hacker disguises as an authorized access point and sends an infected encrypted GTK (group temporal key) to the supplicant (client) with the help of WPA2 protocol connection. GTK is used for securing broadcast and multicast traffic. “During the analysis, we have discovered and responsibly disclosed six major vulnerabilities in Realtek’s RTL8195A Wi-Fi module that these devices were based on,” said Vdoo.

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