Report: Internet-Connected Speakers Can Lead to a Broken Record
Report: Internet-Connected Speakers Can Lead to a Broken Record

Music lovers connected to wireless, Internet-connected Sonos speakers beware that their audio systems could have been unwittingly usurped for nefarious purposes, according to a new report from Trend Micro.

The Dallas-based cybersecurity firm tested the Sonos 1 speakers, which turned out to unleash typical Internet of Things (IoT) vulnerabilities, its 47-page case study, “The Sound of a Targeted Attack” reported. A Dec. 27 Trend Micro blog post by Stephen Hilt, the firm's senior threat researcher, revealed the test's results.

To its credit, Sonos quickly responded to correct the insecurities detected by the Trend Micro team, Hilt noted, unlike Bose, whose SoundTouch product they also tested and found similar problems. The Bose flaws are also detailed in the report.

Sonos fixed security gaps including a denial-of-service (DoS) bug and also a “simple open port that gave anyone on the Internet access to the device and user information,” Hilt writes.

Trend Micro discovered that the hole allowed not only control over the system, but also access to email addresses associated with the device without requiring authentication, music libraries and shared folders on the same network. Its web interface leads to information leakage of BSSIDs (Basic Service Set Identifier) signifying the Internet Provider address; and URIs (Uniform Resource Identifier).

In addition, an attacker with malicious could know exactly the music tastes of the Sonos user, and then tailor spoofed, malware-laden emails, tricking the person to think that it's a legitimate offer from a subscribed streaming device pointing to a favorite artist.

Trend Micro found that the susceptible device hit the typical “Prerequisites for an Attack on IoT Devices”:

  • Exposed device
  • Existing insecurity
  • Exploitable device capabilities
  • Publicly available personally identifiable information

The ramifications of such vulnerabilities go beyond music, notes Trend Micro. For example, such an insecure device allows “an attacker to track down where the target lives and find out if they're home,” notes Hilt.

The report said Sonos measures are “a step in the right direction,” but information still can be exposed, urging users to update their Sonos software to minimize potential risk “even if you are not directly exposed to the Internet.”