3G/4G modems continue to be vulnerable

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Researchers have conducted a series of tests on popular 3G/4G mobile modems (data dongles) and routers discovered an impressive number of serious flaws.


Sometimes old news came back threatening our cyber security, all because 3G/4G dongles keep in being as vulnerable as they were in the past.

In the last report issued by the SCADA Strangelove team, the authors demonstrated that 3G/4G dongles are vulnerable to several attacks, including Remote Code Execution (RCE), Cross-Site Scripting (XSS), Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) and integrity attacks.

The experts tested a wide range of attacks against these devices, including SIM card cloning, data interception, subscriber location, device identification, code injection, PC infection, access to user accounts on the operator's website, and APT attacks.

The SCADA Strangelove team tested devices from various vendors, such as Huawei (two different modems and a router), Gemtek (a modem and a router), Quanta (two modems) and ZTE (one modem)

The results are disconcerting, a significant number of vulnerabilities were found in this equipment:

dongles modems hackingResearchers collected data in a week, the explained that is quite simple to verify them using Shodan and querying for "mini_httpd/1.19 19dec2003 /html/index.html".

dongles modems hacking shodan

We will not enter in details of the attacks (or it would be a long article) for this reason I suggest you to read the report, instead I prefer to share with you the results of the tests:

  • 5 devices were vulnerable to Remote Code Execution
  • 6 devices were vulnerable to Integrity attacks
  • 5 devices were vulnerable to Cross-Site Request Forgery
  • 4 devices were vulnerable to Cross-Site Scripting

In the next table are reported the attacks carried out by the experts:

dongles modems hacking attacks

Summarizing, Huawei modems with the most recent firmware updates are the ones with a better layer of security ... there is still much to do with 3G/4G dongles.

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