February 01, 2013, 12:24 PM — Security researchers from Croatia-based security firm DefenseCode claim to have found a critical remote code execution vulnerability in the UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) implementation developed by Broadcom and used by many routers with Broadcom chipsets.
The news comes after researchers from security firm Rapid7 earlier this week reported critical vulnerabilities in two other popular UPnP implementations -- the Intel/Portable UPnP SDK (software development kit) and MiniUPnP SDK -- that are used in tens of millions of network-enabled devices.
The UPnP standard defines a set of networking protocols that allow devices to discover each other and automatically establish working configurations to enable data sharing, media streaming, media playback control and more. The UPnP service is intended to be used on local networks, but Rapid7 found that there are over 80 million devices on the Internet that respond to UPnP discovery requests, making them vulnerable to remote attacks.
The Broadcom UPnP implementation contains a format string vulnerability that can be exploited by sending a specifically crafted SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) request to it, the DefenseCode researchers said in an advisory published Wednesday.
The vulnerability can be exploited to read the memory of a device that uses the vulnerable Broadcom UPnP stack or to write arbitrary values at arbitrary addresses in its memory. If exploited correctly, the vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to execute arbitrary code with root (administrator) privileges on the device, they said.
DefenseCode's researchers originally discovered this vulnerability in the Cisco Linksys WRT54GL router model and reported it to Cisco earlier this month. However, they later realized that the vulnerability is actually located in the Broadcom UPnP stack and most likely affects other Cisco routers, as well as routers from other manufacturers.
DefenseCode hasn't compiled a complete list with affected router models, but believes that some devices from Broadcom, Asus, Cisco, TP-Link, Zyxel, D-Link, Netgear, USRobotics and other vendors probably use the vulnerable Broadcom UPnP stack, said Leon Juranic, CEO of DefenseCode, Friday via email.
Broadcom, Asus, TP-Link, Netgear and D-Link did not immediately respond to a request for comment.