Millions of smart TVs, phones and routers at risk from old vulnerability

The finding highlights problems around less rigorous patching by manufacturers

A three-year-old vulnerability in a software component used in millions of smart TVs, routers and phones still hasn't been patched by many vendors, thus posing a risk, according to Trend Micro.

Although a patch was issued for the component in December 2012, Trend Micro found 547 apps that use an older unpatched version of it, wrote Veo Zhang, a mobile threats analyst.

"These are very popular apps that put millions of users in danger; aside from mobile devices, routers, and smart TVs are all at risk as well," he wrote.

There's growing concern over how manufacturers of devices such as routers and smart TVs deal with security vulnerabilities that emerge in their products. Their patching regimes are not nearly as rigorous as those from major software manufacturers, which could expose consumers to attacks as the products age.

As many as 6.1 million devices could still be vulnerable, although some companies have since updated their software, Zhang wrote.

Trend has seen attacks in the wild against devices that do not have defenses such as data execution prevention and address space layout randomization, he wrote.

"With further research, an exploit could be used not just to cause a crash, but to run arbitrary code on an affected device," he wrote. "The ability to run arbitrary code would give the attacker the ability to take control of the device, as on a PC."

The vulnerability is specifically within a code library called "libupnp" inside the Portable SDK for UPnP Devices. It is used to playback media and also for NAT (network address translation).

Of the 547 vulnerable apps, 326 are in Google's Play app store. One of the affected ones is QQMusic from Tencent, which has 100 million users in China. After being notified, Tencent released an update for the Android app on Nov. 23.

Another affected app is the Linphone SDK, which is used to incorporate VoIP into applications. It has also now been patched.

"The libupnp SDK is one of several options used by the Linphone SDK to provide NAT traversal via UPnP; if this option is chosen the vulnerable service will be activated," Zhang wrote.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?