Trustwave SpiderLabs Uncovers Ov3r_Stealer Malware Spread via Phishing and Facebook Advertising. Learn More

Trustwave SpiderLabs Uncovers Ov3r_Stealer Malware Spread via Phishing and Facebook Advertising. Learn More

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SpiderLabs Blog

Defender for IoT’s Firmware Analysis Tool is Exceptional

One of my "pastimes," if you will, is to check out the features of various security tools. I had been curious about Microsoft's Defender for IoT's just-released Firmware Analysis feature. Essentially, I wanted to test its capabilities because, as we all know, adversaries are continuously upping their game making tools like this increasingly important when it comes to maintaining an organization's security.


In a nutshell, Defender for IoT's Firmware Analysis tool, released by Microsoft for public preview on July 26, can extract firmware from a multitude of networked devices and scrutinize it for potential security flaws, thus giving visibility to issues such as patch levels and known vulnerabilities into what are essentially black boxes with little transparency. A security administrator can then harness the extracted data to classify and prioritize security alerts and take the necessary corrective actions pertaining to these devices.


Considering this tool requires a Linux-based binary, I tested it with a Linksys network MR600 router. So, I went to the company's support page and arbitrarily selected one for testing.


After uploading the binary to the firmware analysis tool, I was surprised to find several potential security threats: Passwords (which I've redacted, no need to help the bad guys!) and even a private key.


For a deeper understanding of this feature's functionality, refer to the following documentation



Figure 1: Defender for IoT Firmware Analysis UI

During my testing, I unearthed several vulnerabilities in the device. The analysis provided insights into often overlooked areas, emphasizing the importance of regular firmware checks. This visibility helps support the general practice of ensuring strong admin credentials are in place and not stored in plaintext or where a threat actor can easily find them.


Figure 2. Graphical representation of potential security threats

The dashboard is very helpful and provides a visual representation of the detected vulnerabilities, showing the severity and type of each flaw.


Figure 3 shows the firmware component versions, and their associated security risk levels.

Very importantly, the tool exposed several passwords stored in the firmware. A flaw any threat actor is sure exploit.


Figure 4. A list of detected passwords within the firmware

And lastly, a private key:


Figure 5. Discovery of a private key within the firmware



Defender for IoT's Firmware Analysis tool is an excellent feature within the Defender for IoT product. Its ability to dissect firmware and highlight vulnerabilities is very useful for security defense triage and defense planning. The tool's ability to find vulnerabilities underscores the necessity of regular firmware assessments to ensure the security of networked devices.


As technology evolves, so do potential threats, and tools like this will become indispensable. It's crucial for organizations to be proactive in their security measures, and with tools like this at our disposal, we're one step closer to a safer digital ecosystem.



David Broggy, Trustwave’s Senior Solutions Architect, Implementation Services, was selected last year for Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award.











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