A critical authentication bypass vulnerability in Neatgear routers could have allowed hackers to compromise more than 10,000 routers, according to security researchers. By remotely gaining unauthorized root access to routers, cybercriminals managed to alter DNS settings and redirect and manipulate router traffic.
“Multiple NETGEAR wireless routers are out of the box vulnerable to an authentication bypass attack,” reads the advisory. “No router option has to be changed to exploit the issue. So an attacker can access the administration interface of the router without submitting any valid username and password, just by requesting a special URL several times.”
The vulnerability, which affects the N300_18.104.22.168_1.0.1.img, and N300-22.214.171.124_1.0.1.img firmware, can be exploited via a browser or by writing a simple exploit, bypassing the entire authentication logon process.
“Is it serious? Yes it definitely is,” said Jonathan Wu, senior director of product management at Netgear. “Because whenever anybody gets access to your router, they can alter settings to direct traffic to places you don’t want it to go to.”
Because attackers have complete control over the affected routers, they can access its administrative functions from outside the network. Although no patch is yet available patch to plug the vulnerability, Netgear did confirm that one will be released on October 14.
When the update becomes available, we strongly encourage everyone that owns an affected Netgear router to install the patch manually, as the firmware will not be pushed automatically.