Vulnerabilities in home routers used for compromising bank accounts

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Researchers have observed attackers using DNS redirection attacks due to bugs in home routers.
Researchers have observed attackers using DNS redirection attacks due to bugs in home routers.

CERT Polska researchers have observed attackers using DNS redirection attacks – made possible due to vulnerabilities in home routers – to effectively access online banking accounts in Poland.

The vulnerabilities in routers allow hackers to carry out remote modifications that result in man-in-the-middle attacks, according to a February CERT Polska report.

“In the resulting man-in-the-middle attack, content of several e-banking websites is altered to include JavaScript injects that tricked users into giving up their usernames, passwords and TANs,” according to the report, which explains how attackers are able to sneak around the SSL encryption enabled on most banking websites.

In a Thursday email correspondence, Przemyslaw Jaroszewski, head of incident response with CERT Polska, told SCMagazine.com that this type of threat could be coming to the U.S. and other countries because the technology used in the attacks is mostly the same.

In Poland, thousands of routers have likely been compromised, Jaroszewski said. Sources have indicated that more than 1.2 million devices in the country have vulnerable firmware, he added, but explained that most should be configured securely enough to prevent being exploited.

CERT Polska researchers have not been able to confirm what specific vulnerabilities in home routers have made this attack possible, but Jaroszewski offered up a few suggestions.

“There is a vulnerability in Zyxel firmware (used in TPLink and DLink routers, among others) that was made a month ago, which allows for exactly this kind of attack,” Jaroszewski said. “However, we know for sure that the [DNS redirection attacks] were already there in late December.”

Jaroszewski added, “There are also recently discovered [cross-site request forgery (CSRF)] vulnerabilities in routers widely used by UPC - one of largest [internet service providers] in Europe.”

Users should disable remote administration access on their routers to prevent devices from being attacked, Jaroszewski said, adding that the actual DNS redirection attack can be spotted pretty easily if people pay attention to the HTTPS indicator in the web address bar.

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