Senior Vulnerability Researcher TXOne Networks
Ta-Lun is a Sr. Vulnerability Researcher at TXOne Networks, with focus on compromising everything that runs on 1 and 0’s: robot protocols (BHEU 21), proprietary bluetooth protocols (BHEU 19), QNAP NASes and factory HMIs (CODE BLUE), WinCE PE binary repair tool (hardwear.io USA).
Backdooring an entire country’s 4 million modems with 6 bugs in a week
Telecommunication industry is one of the crucial sectors, and we’ll demonstrate how we have found how we found 6-bugs in a week in a particular telecommunication company, while chained together, allows full takeover launched from the Internet, to network infrastructure, to all modems of the country, and an estimated of 4 million devices can be affected.
The research stems from a study to reversing engineer of Passive Optical Network (PON) modems. Assuming a dedicated nation-actor’s perspective, we have put every attack surfaces including firmware, software and hardware under extensive study, and have found 6+ critical vulnerabilities, misconfigurations within telecom’s network infrastructure, to the modems provided to the end-users in the country. We’ll also demonstrate an attack scenario where modems could be backdoored while undetected, being able to participate in botnets to be further weaponized. We’ll not only present the findings, but also the way we have found it, including attacks from a hardware hacker’s perspective and demonstrating the feasibility of the attacks: how we started from board component analysis to flash dumping, firmware analysis, ISP compromise, and finally, compromise of all modems.
We’ll also present a couple of viable defense options for vendors to further strengthen their defense in end-user devices, even in a hostile environment. We’ll also be elaborating on how disclosure process went with such kind of vulnerability, as it requires cooperation from multiple parties, in the situation when it’s not just vulnerabilities, but also a national security concern.
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Orange Romania is the leader of the local telecom market and part of the Orange Group, one of the largest global telecommunications operators, connecting hundreds of millions of customers worldwide. With over 11 million customers and an annual turnover exceeding 1.5 billion euros, Orange Romania connects 1 in 2 Romanians and offers an extensive range of communication solutions to its customers, both individual users and companies, from basic services up to complete voice services, fixed and mobile data, TV services or smart home services, but also mobile financial services. Orange is also a leader in innovation investing yearly over 200 million euros in network infrastructure and R&D initiatives in Romania. In the past 3 years Orange has launched two 5G Labs in Bucharest and Iasi, that aim to support researchers, startups and companies to test their 5G solutions in advance. In addition, Orange is a long-term supporter of the startup ecosystem through the Orange Fab accelerator program designed to support entrepreneurs in the development of innovative products and their distribution locally and internationally.
Orange Services was created in 2013 and is a 100% owned subsidiary of Orange Group. As a technology services company, our DNA is in IT, but our teams also work in other domains including mobile networks and a number of commercial and business functions. Orange Services is one of the largest technology hubs in the Orange Group, working internationally for both Orange corporate functions and country operations. Through a unique combination of cutting edge know-how and expertise, our teams provide a broad range of services: development and supervision of IT services in domains such as Big Data, Cloud, M2M, IoT, TV, Connected Objects; design and development of IT infrastructure and desktop solutions; testing & planning for mobile networks; implementation of supply chain solutions and also improvement of commercial & business performance including BI, CRM, Analytics, Digital learning and Customer Care. Visit us on LinkedIn.