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Bug That Allowed Hackers to Open Airport Security Doors Identified, Fixed

Hacker in the action on his laptop computer

A software bug makes it easy for criminals to remotely infiltrate secure areas at airports.

Businesses—including many airports, like Nanchang Changbei International Airport—using HID access control systems on their doors had a scare when it was discovered that hackers could gain access to secure areas with a simple line of code.

HID manufactures control and access panels for locked doors, often seen at hospitals and airports, where an employee will swipe an ID card, an LED light will turn green, and the door will open. The newest versions of the security systems connect to a local network so administrators can access the panels remotely. And now, so can hackers.

Essentially, two of the door controllers—the VertX and Edge brands, and the company’s flagship products—have a bug, easily allowing hackers and criminals to override the system, open all the doors, turn off all the alarms, and stop administrators from regaining access. The bug lives in the LED blinking controls and the accompanying feature that allows an admin to remotely change the number of times the light blinks.

“A command injection vulnerability exists in this function due to a lack of any sanitization on the user-supplied input that is fed to the system() call,” Ricky “HeadlessZeke” Lawshae wrote for Trend Micro. “Instead of a number of times to blink the LED, if we send a Linux command wrapped in backticks, like `id`, it will get executed by the Linux shell on the device. To make matters worse, the discovery service runs as root, so whatever command we send it will also be run as root, effectively giving us complete control over the device.”

Luckily, the bug has reportedly been patched.

[Photo: Getty]

Comments are Closed.
jonsg April 7, 2016

Wow. I think they just wrote half the script for "Die Hard In A F$%^ing Airport Yet Again".