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Xiongmai — Krebs on Security

Xiongmai — Krebs on Security

What can we do with an organization that commonly pumps metric tons of digital poisonous sludge onto the Web and but refuses to wash up their act? If ever there have been a know-how big that deserved to be named and shamed for polluting the Net, it’s Xiongmai — a Chinese language maker of digital elements that energy an enormous proportion of low cost digital video recorders (DVRs) and Web-connected safety cameras.

A rendering of Xiongmai’s middle in Hangzhou, China. Supply: xiongmaitech.com

In late 2016, the world witnessed the sheer disruptive energy of Mirai, a strong botnet pressure fueled by Web of Issues (IoT) units like DVRs and IP cameras that have been put on-line with factory-default passwords and different poor safety settings.

Security specialists quickly found that a majority of Mirai-infected units have been mainly composed of elements made by Xiongmai (a.okay.a. Hangzhou Xiongmai Know-how Co., Ltd.) and a handful of different Chinese language tech companies that appeared to have a historical past of putting product market share and worth above safety.

Since then, two of these companies — Huawei and Dahua — have taken steps to extend the safety of their IoT merchandise out-of-the-box. However Xiongmai — regardless of repeated warnings from researchers about deep-seated vulnerabilities in its hardware — has continued to disregard such warnings and to ship massively insecure hardware and software program to be used in merchandise which might be white-labeled and bought by greater than 100 third-party distributors.

On Tuesday, Austrian safety agency SEC Seek the advice of launched the outcomes of in depth analysis into a number of, lingering and critical safety holes in Xiongmai’s hardware.

SEC Seek the advice of stated it started the method of working with Xiongmai on these issues again in March 2018, however that it lastly revealed its analysis after it turned clear that Xiongmai wasn’t going to deal with any of the issues.

“Although Xiongmai had seven months notice, they have not fixed any of the issues,” the researchers wrote in a weblog publish revealed in the present day. “The conversation with them over the past months has shown that security is just not a priority to them at all.”

Xiongmai didn’t reply to requests for remark.


A core a part of the issue is the peer-to-peer (P2P) communications element referred to as “XMEye” that ships with all Xiongmai units and routinely connects them to a cloud community run by Xiongmai. The P2P function is designed so that buyers can entry their DVRs or safety cameras remotely anyplace on the earth and with out having to configure something.

The varied enterprise strains of Xiongmai. Supply: xiongmaitech.com

To entry a Xiongmai system by way of the P2P community, one should know the Distinctive ID (UID) assigned to every gadget. The UID is actually derived in an simply reproducible means utilizing the system’s built-in MAC handle (a 16-character string of numbers and letters, reminiscent of 68ab8124db83c8db).

Electronics companies are assigned ranges of MAC tackle that they could use, however SEC Seek the advice of found that Xiongmai for some purpose truly makes use of MAC handle ranges assigned to quite a lot of different corporations, together with tech big Cisco Techniques, German printing press maker Koenig & Bauer AG, and Swiss chemical evaluation agency Metrohm AG.

SEC Seek the advice of discovered that it was trivial to seek out Xiongmai units just by computing all attainable ranges of UIDs for every vary of MAC addresses, after which scanning Xiongmai’s public cloud for XMEye-enabled units. Based mostly on scanning simply two % of the obtainable ranges, SEC Seek the advice of conservatively estimates there are round 9 million Xiongmai P2P units on-line.

[For the record, KrebsOnSecurity has long advised buyers of IoT devices to avoid those advertise P2P capabilities for just this reason. The Xiongmai debacle is yet another example of why this remains solid advice].


Whereas one nonetheless wants to offer a username and password to remotely entry XMEye units by way of this technique, SEC Seek the advice of notes that the default password of the omnipotent administrative consumer (username “admin”) is clean (i.e, no password).

The admin account can be utilized to do something to the gadget, resembling altering its settings or importing software program — together with malware like Mirai. And since customers will not be required to set a safe password within the preliminary setup part, it’s probably that numerous units are accessible by way of these default credentials.

The uncooked, unbranded digital elements of an IP digital camera produced by Xiongmai.

Even when a buyer has modified the default admin password, SEC Seek the advice of found there’s an undocumented consumer with the identify “default,” whose password is “tluafed” (default in reverse). Whereas this consumer account can’t change system settings, it’s nonetheless capable of view any video streams.

Usually, hardware units are secured towards unauthorized software program updates by requiring that any new software program pushed to the units be digitally signed with a secret cryptographic key that’s held solely by the hardware or software program maker. Nevertheless, XMEye-enabled units haven’t any such protections.

Actually, the researchers discovered it was trivial to arrange a system that mimics the XMEye cloud and push malicious firmware updates to any gadget. Worse nonetheless, in contrast to with the Mirai malware — which will get completely wiped from reminiscence when an contaminated gadget powers off or is rebooted — the replace technique devised by SEC Seek the advice of makes it in order that any software program uploaded survives a reboot.


Within the wake of the Mirai botnet’s emergence in 2016 and the next report denial-of-service assaults that introduced down chunks of the Web at a time (together with this Website online and my DDoS safety supplier at occasions), a number of safety companies stated Xiongmai’s insecure merchandise have been an enormous contributor to the issue.

Among the many firm’s strongest critics was New York Metropolis-based safety agency Flashpoint, which identified that even primary security measures constructed into Xiongmai’s hardware had utterly failed at primary duties.

For instance, Flashpoint’s analysts found that the login web page for a digital camera or DVR operating Xiongmai hardware and software program could possibly be bypassed simply by navigating to a web page referred to as “DVR.htm” previous to login.

Flashpoint’s researchers additionally discovered that any modifications to passwords for numerous consumer accounts accessible by way of the Net administration web page for Xiongmai merchandise did nothing to vary passwords for accounts that have been hard-coded into these units and accessible solely by way of extra obscure, command-line communications interfaces like Telnet and SSH.

Not lengthy after Xiongmai was publicly shamed for failing to repair apparent safety weaknesses that helped contribute to the unfold of Mirai and associated IoT botnets, Xiongmai lashed out at a number of safety companies and journalists, promising to sue its critics for defamation (it by no means adopted by means of on that menace, so far as I can inform).

On the similar time, Xiongmai promised that it will be issuing a product recall on tens of millions of units to make sure they weren’t deployed with insecure settings and software program. However in response to Flashpoint’s Zach Wikholm, Xiongmai by no means adopted by way of with the recall, both. Quite, it was all a approach for the corporate to save lots of face publicly and with its enterprise companions.

“This company said they were going to do a product recall, but it looks like they never got around to it,” Wikholm stated. “They were just trying to cover up and keep moving.”

Wikholm stated Flashpoint found a lot of further obtrusive vulnerabilities in Xiongmai’s hardware and software program that left them extensive open to takeover by malicious hackers, and that a number of of these weaknesses nonetheless exist within the firm’s core product line.

“We could have kept releasing our findings, but it just got really difficult to keep doing that because Xiongmai wouldn’t fix them and it would only make it easier for people to compromise these devices,” Wikholm stated.

The Flashpoint analyst stated he believes SEC Seek the advice of’s estimates of the variety of weak Xiongmai units to be extraordinarily conservative.

“Nine million devices sounds quite low because these guys hold 25 percent of the world’s DVR market,” to say nothing of the corporate’s share out there for cheapo IP cameras, Wikholm stated.

What’s extra, he stated, Xiongmai has turned a deaf ear to stories about harmful safety holes throughout its product strains principally as a result of it doesn’t reply on to clients who buy the gear.

“The only reason they’ve maintained this level of [not caring] is they’ve been in this market for a long time and established very strong regional sales channels to dozens of third-party companies,” that finally rebrand Xiongmai’s merchandise as their very own, he stated.

Additionally, the standard shopper of low cost electronics powered by Xiongmai’s package don’t actually care how simply these units could be commandeered by cybercriminals, Wikholm noticed.

“They just want a security system around their house or business that doesn’t cost an arm and leg, and Xiongmai is by far the biggest player in that space,” he stated. “Most companies at least have some sort of incentive to make things better when faced with public pressure. But they don’t seem to have that drive.”


SEC Seek the advice of concluded its technical advisory concerning the safety flaws by saying Xiongmai “does not provide any mitigations and hence it is recommended not to use any products associated with the XMeye P2P Cloud until all of the identified security issues have been fixed and a thorough security analysis has been performed by professionals.”

Whereas this will sound straightforward sufficient, appearing on that recommendation is troublesome in apply as a result of only a few units made with Xiongmai’s deeply flawed hardware and software program promote that reality on the label or product identify. Fairly, the elements that Xiongmai makes are bought downstream to distributors who then use it in their very own merchandise and slap on a label with their very own model identify.

What number of distributors? It’s troublesome to say for positive, however a search on the time period XMEye by way of the e-commerce websites the place Xiongmai’s white-labeled merchandise sometimes are bought (Amazon, Aliexpress.com, Homedepot.com and Walmart) reveals greater than 100 corporations that you simply’ve in all probability by no means heard of which model Xionmai’s hardware and software program as their very own.  That record is out there right here (PDF) and can also be pasted on the conclusion of this publish for the good thing about search engines like google.

SEC Seek the advice of’s technical advisory about their findings lists quite a few indicators that system and community directors can use to shortly decide whether or not any of those weak P2P Xiongmai units occur to be on your community.

For finish customers involved about this, a method of fingerprinting Xiongmai units is to look Amazon.com, aliexpress.com, walmart.com and different on-line retailers for the model on the aspect of your gadget and the time period “XMEye.” For those who get successful, likelihood is wonderful you’ve obtained a tool constructed on Xionmai’s know-how.

An alternative choice: open a browser and navigate to the native Web handle of your system. When you have one among these units on your native community, the login web page ought to appear to be the one under:

The executive login display for IoT units powered by Xiongmai’s software program and hardware.

One other giveaway on nearly all Xiongmai units is pasting “http://IP/err.htm” right into a browser tackle bar ought to show the next error message (the place IP= the native IP handle of the system):

Mockingly, even the error web page for Xiongmai units accommodates errors.

In response to SEC Seek the advice of, Xiongmai’s electronics and hardware make up the center of IP cameras and DVRs marketed and bought underneath the corporate names under.

What’s most exceptional about most of the corporations listed under is that about half of them don’t even have their very own Web pages, and as an alternative merely rely on direct-to-consumer product listings at Amazon.com or different e-commerce retailers. Amongst people who do promote Xiongmai’s merchandise instantly by way of the Net, only a few of them appear to even supply safe (https://) Websites.

SEC Seek the advice of’s weblog publish about their findings has extra technical particulars, as does the safety advisory they launched at present.

Right here’s the present listing of corporations that white label Xiongmai’s insecure merchandise, in line with SEC Seek the advice of:

Shell movie
Distinctive Imaginative and prescient
WNK Security Know-how

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