A security researcher discovered a serious yet simple flaw in VxWorks, a real-time operating system for the Internet of Things, which an attacker could remotely exploit without needing any interaction with a user. The OS is used in everyday things like network routers to critical infrastructure as well in NASA’s Curiosity Rover on Mars and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Searching for VxWorks via Shodan reveals about 100,000 internet-connected devices running the OS, but VxWorks supposedly powers “billions of intelligent devices.” The researcher warned that the vulnerability “allows remote code execution on most VxWorks-based devices.”
Yannick Formaggio, a security researcher at Istuary Innovation Labs, presented “Attacking VxWorks: from Stone Age to Interstellar” at 44Con, an information security conference in London. The description of his talk reads, “VxWorks is the world’s most widely-used real-time operating system deployed in embedded systems. Its market reach spans across all safety critical fields, including the Mars Curiosity rover, Boeing 787 Dreamliner, network routers to name a few.” Formaggio added, “In this age of IoT, the issue will have a widespread impact.”
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