Critical Bugs Affecting Realtek Wi-Fi Module


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Aug 17, 2014
A new set of critical vulnerabilities has been disclosed in the Realtek RTL8170C Wi-Fi module that an adversary could abuse to gain elevated privileges on a device and hijack wireless communications.

"Successful exploitation would lead to complete control of the Wi-Fi module and potential root access on the OS (such as Linux or Android) of the embedded device that uses this module," researchers from Israeli IoT security firm Vdoo said in a write-up published yesterday.

The Realtek RTL8710C Wi-Fi SoC underpins Ameba, an Arduino-compatible programmable platform equipped with peripheral interfaces for building a variety of IoT applications by devices spanning across agriculture, automotive, energy, healthcare, industrial, security, and smart home sectors.

The flaws affect all embedded and IoT devices that use the component to connect to Wi-Fi networks and would require an attacker to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the devices that use the RTL8710C module or know the network's pre-shared key (PSK), which, as the name implies, is a cryptographic secret used to authenticate wireless clients on local area networks.

The findings follow an earlier analysis in February that found similar weaknesses in the Realtek RTL8195A Wi-Fi module, chief among them being a buffer overflow vulnerability (CVE-2020-9395) that permits an attacker in the proximity of an RTL8195 module to completely take over the module without having to know the Wi-Fi network password.