Personal weather stations can expose your Wi-Fi network

Netatmo weather stations upload Wi-Fi passwords and SSIDs to the company's servers over insecure connections

In the latest Internet of Things security blunder, personal weather station devices made by Netatmo were found sending users' Wi-Fi passwords back to the company over unencrypted connections.

Netatmo weather stations can be used to monitor indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels and overall air quality. Users can see the data collected by their stations in real-time through an app installed on their phones, tablets or computers.

The public weather map on Netatmo's website shows that thousands of such devices are installed around the world.

When the weather stations are first configured, users need to give them access to their Wi-Fi networks, so they can transmit sensor readings to the Netatmo cloud over the Internet.

The problem is that the devices also send the wireless network identifier (SSID) and the password to the company's servers and do so over an unencrypted connection, said Johannes Ullrich, CTO of the SANS Internet Storm Center, in a blog post Thursday.

Ullrich discovered the issue after monitoring data traffic from his own Netatmo weather station.

"Not only should data like this not be transmitted 'in the clear,' but in addition, there is no need for Netatmo to know the WPA password for my network," Ullrich said.

Ullrich said that he reported the problem to the company, which blamed the behavior on a debugging feature that collects the contents of the device's memory on first run.

According to Ullrich, the company expressed its intention to remove this feature "very soon" and this week it released a firmware update that appears to fix the issue. In an update to his blog post on Friday he said he is still trying to verify if that is the case.

Netatmo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This issue adds to a growing list of basic security lapses discovered in smart home devices and other Internet-connected appliances that have invaded the consumer electronics market in the last few years.

Security experts have repeatedly expressed their concern that device manufacturers pay little attention to basic security principles in their rush to put Internet connectivity into everything.

The security mess has given birth to Internet of Things security advisory groups like BuildItSecure.ly and I Am the Cavalry.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags intrusionSANS InstitutesecurityNetatmoAccess control and authenticationprivacy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?