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Kudelski IoT Security Labs Makes Concerning Discovery in Helium, Pollen Mobile & Althea Network Gateways & Routers

Unpatched Vulnerabilities in Network Devices Threaten Data & Device Security

Benoît Gerhard
Benoît Gerhard
Senior Director Security Evaluations, Kudelski IoT Labs
Updated on
February 1, 2024
Kudelski IoT Security Labs warns of critical vulnerabilities in Pollen Mobile and Althea Network devices, allowing physical attacks and data breaches. Despite alerts, no remedial actions have been taken, posing significant security risks.
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Kudelski IoT Security Labs recently issued a critical security alert concerning the Pollen Mobile and CBRS, FreedomFi gateways, and routers deployed by Althea Network. This alert sheds light on a significant vulnerability: these devices are susceptible to physical attacks, potentially allowing attackers to gain root access to the system.

The Nature of the Vulnerability

Our findings at Kudelski IoT Security Labs revealed that equipment used in the Pollen Mobile network, Helium network, and Althea Network lack protection against local attacks. This vulnerability can severely impact the confidentiality of the data processed and the secrets stored on these devices. The risks include:

  • Eavesdropping on Data Traffic: Allowing unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Access to Configuration Files: Leading to potential manipulation or compromise of device operations.
  • Extraction of Cryptographic Material: Undermining the security protocols safeguarding the devices.
  • Network Exploration and Monitoring: Posing a threat to the broader network infrastructure.

Kudelski IoT's Proactive Approach

At Kudelski IoT, we believe in a proactive approach to IoT security. Our Device Security Discovery service is designed to identify and mitigate such risks, ensuring the safety and integrity of IoT devices. Our methods include:

  • Security Architecture Review: Analyzing the foundational design of IoT devices for inherent security strengths and weaknesses.
  • Threat Assessment: Identifying potential threats unique to each device and its operational environment.
  • Security Evaluation: Conducting comprehensive evaluations to uncover vulnerabilities, similar to those found in the Pollen Mobile and FreedomFi gateways.

The Importance of Advanced Security in IoT

The vulnerabilities we've identified highlight the critical need for advanced security measures in the IoT sector. Our over 25 years of research and security analysis of digital systems have equipped us with the expertise to offer IoT device manufacturers the essential insights they need to fortify their devices against such vulnerabilities.

Kudelski IoT's Commitment to Secure IoT Ecosystems

Our commitment at Kudelski IoT is to ensure that IoT devices are not only functional and user-friendly but also secure and resilient against emerging threats. We are dedicated to assisting IoT device manufacturers in navigating these challenges and ensuring the security of their devices and users.

Responsible disclosure is a cybersecurity concept that involves a specific approach to disclosing vulnerabilities in software or systems. Under this model, a security researcher who discovers a vulnerability communicates it to the organization that owns the system, instead of publicly revealing it. This private disclosureallows the organization time to fix the vulnerability before the details are made public, reducing the risk of exploitation by malicious actors. The responsible disclosure process often includes an agreed-upon timeframe for the organization to address the issue. After this period, or once a patch is released, the researcher may publish their findings, often receiving credit for their discovery. This approach aims to balance the need for public awareness of security issues with the need to prevent widespread harm by malicious exploitation of vulnerabilities.

To date, none of the parties we notified responded to us, and to our knowledge, none of the parties have taken the necessary actions to remediate the identified vulnerabilities.  This lack of responsiveness is concerning as it potentially exposes users to significant security risks. We will revise this statement as appropriate if we receive feedback from the parties we notified.

The IoT landscape is continuously evolving, and with it, the challenges of ensuring robust security. The recent findings by Kudelski IoT Security Labs are a crucial reminder of the importance of proactive security measures. We are committed to helping IoT device manufacturers enhance their security, protecting their products and users from potential threats. For more information on how we can help secure your IoT devices, visit www.kudelski-iot.com.

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IoT Device Security Discovery

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