A newly discovered vulnerability known as Devil’s Ivy is causing a rash of Internet of Things (IoT) risks. According to SecurityWeek, IoT security firm Senrio discovered the flaw in a connected camera.

If threat actors are able to exploit the vulnerability, they can both view camera feeds and block access. So far, Ivy is more annoying than apocalyptic, but Senrio’s blog post suggested that “tens of millions” of systems could be affected.

Scratching at the Door

Cybercriminals are always looking for another way into enterprise systems. IoT devices are the next frontier, since they’re often secured with stock permissions and rely on open source code to speed up time to market and enable interoperability.

As noted by Threatpost, that’s the problem here: An open source software library called gSOAP contains a communication-layer flaw that lets fraudsters carry out buffer overflow attacks by flooding port 80 with data. Then, the malicious actors can send payloads that give them the ability to execute arbitrary code or reset device firmware to factory defaults.

For the 249 IoT cameras carrying Devil’s Ivy, this means attackers could hijack live feeds or prevent authorized users from accessing camera data. Cameras in high-security areas such as banks or government facilities can be hijacked to conduct reconnaissance for later attacks. They could also be rendered useless, allowing criminals to break the law without fear of being recorded.

According to Wired, at least 34 companies are on record as using gSOAP in their products, but the number may be much higher since the code is open source. While code-maker Genivia already released a patch for CVE-2017-9765, there’s no guarantee that all affected IoT devices have been secured.

Open Source Standoff

Ultimately, IoT device risks are symptomatic of two larger problems: code reuse and poor security protocols. As noted by Dark Reading, the average application is 79 percent library code and just 21 percent custom code. Furthermore, 76 percent of these applications contain at least one security vulnerability, and 34 percent contain four or more.

In effect, reusing open source code also reuses any existing vulnerabilities. If one like Devil’s Ivy attracts the attention of motivated threat actors, the results could be disastrous.

Pair that with lax security measures — such as factory login details that are never changed and passwords that are easy to guess or absent — and it’s a perfect storm of security issues. So far, cameras are the only known vector for this newest open source attack, but with indications that even large vendors such as Microsoft are at risk, this minor IoT rash could get worse — and fast.

Containing the Spread of Devil’s Ivy

So what’s the solution? No more open source code? Realistically, that’s not possible, since enterprises can’t afford to custom-design apps for common functions or build out perfect code when existing libraries save so much time for IT staff.

Instead, Devil’s Ivy is a kind of wake-up call: Just like mission-critical apps and services, IoT devices need to fall under the umbrella of enterprise network security. If they’re not subject to the same scrutiny and testing as other services on the network, they shouldn’t have access to critical data.

Is making the switch time-consuming? Absolutely. Likely to dredge up other security issues? Almost certainly. But it’s better than the irritation of dealing with new vulnerabilities that could quickly transition from simple nuisance to full-blown network compromise.

More from

Is It Time to Start Hiding Your Work Emails?

In this digital age, it is increasingly important for businesses to be aware of their online presence and data security. Many companies have already implemented measures such as two-factor authentication and strong password policies – but there is still a great deal of exposure regarding email visibility. It should come as no surprise that cyber criminals are always looking for ways to gain access to sensitive information. Unfortunately, emails are a particularly easy target as many businesses do not encrypt…

2022 Industry Threat Recap: Finance and Insurance

The finance and insurance sector proved a top target for cybersecurity threats in 2022. The IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2023 found this sector ranked as the second most attacked, with 18.9% of X-Force incident response cases. If, as Shakespeare tells us, past is prologue, this sector will likely remain a target in 2023. Finance and insurance ranked as the most attacked sector from 2016 to 2020, with the manufacturing sector the most attacked in 2021 and 2022. What…

X-Force Prevents Zero Day from Going Anywhere

This blog was made possible through contributions from Fred Chidsey and Joseph Lozowski. The 2023 X-Force Threat Intelligence Index shows that vulnerability discovery has rapidly increased year-over-year and according to X-Force’s cumulative vulnerability and exploit database, only 3% of vulnerabilities are associated with a zero day. X-Force often observes zero-day exploitation on Internet-facing systems as a vector for initial access however, X-Force has also observed zero-day attacks leveraged by attackers to accomplish their goals and objectives after initial access was…

And Stay Out! Blocking Backdoor Break-Ins

Backdoor access was the most common threat vector in 2022. According to the 2023 IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, 21% of incidents saw the use of backdoors, outpacing perennial compromise favorite ransomware, which came in at just 17%. The good news? In 67% of backdoor attacks, defenders were able to disrupt attacker efforts and lock digital doorways before ransomware payloads were deployed. The not-so-great news? With backdoor access now available at a bargain price on the dark web, businesses…