Public Vulnerability Reports

Linksys WRT54G Router Remote Administration Fixed Encryption Key Vulnerability



The Linksys WRT54G is a combination wireless access point, switch and
router. More information is available at the following URL:


Remote exploitation of a design error in multiple versions of the
firmware  for Cisco Systems Inc.'s Linksys WRT54G wireless router may
allow  unauthenticated modification of the router configuration.

The vulnerability specifically exists in the 'ezconfig.asp' handler of
the httpd running on the internal interfaces, including by default
the wireless interface. This handler is used by the 'ezSetup' to perform
the initial setup of the router.

struct mime_handler mime_handlers[] = {
//{ "ezconfig.asp", "text/html", ezc_version, do_apply_ezconfig_post,
   do_ezconfig_asp, do_auth },
/*Modified by Daniel(2004-09-06);*/
{ "ezconfig.asp", "text/html", ezc_version, do_apply_ezconfig_post,
   do_ezconfig_asp, NULL },

The 'auth()' method for this page does not contain an authentication
initialization function. As the authentication initializer (do_auth) was
removed, no check is made when requesting the page. If the auth_fail flag
was set for any reason, this call will fail. The code which sets the
auth_fail flag is shown below. When the httpd starts, the value of
auth_flag defaults to 0.

  if (handler->auth) {
          handler->auth(auth_userid, auth_passwd, auth_realm);
          auth_fail = 0;
          if (!auth_check(auth_realm, authorization))
                  auth_fail = 1;

The request returns an encrypted version of the configuration
information, however the encryption on this data is very weak, it is a
simple XOR based encryption, with a fixed 256 byte mask. In order to
change the configuration, this key must be known. Once this key is known
and the new configuration data is encrypted with it, and the new data can
simply be posted to the httpd, the new configuration will take effect.


Successful exploitation of this vulnerability would allow an
unauthenticated user the ability to modify the configuration of the
affected router, including the password. This could allow firewall rules
to be changed, installation of a new firmware with other features, or
denial of service. Exploitation of this vulnerability would require that
an attacker can connect to the web management port of the router. The
httpd is running by default but is only accessible via the LAN ports or
the WLAN (wireless LAN).

An attacker who can associate with a network running a vulnerable httpd
could send an exploit from a wireless device to reset the password on the
device and enable the remote management port, allowing continued internet

Authentication credentials may be set if another user has attempted to
view a page since the router was restarted. An attacker may be able to
crash the httpd using another vulnerability, in which case it will
restart within 2 minutes, with no authentication details initialized.
This would then allow them to exploit the httpd with this vulnerability.


iDEFENSE has confirmed the existence of this vulnerability in version
3.01.03 of the firmware of the Linksys WRT54G, and has identified the
same code is present in version 3.03.6.

Version 2.04.4 of the WRT54G is confirmed to contain the affected code,
however by default it initializes the authentication details, and so
requires a password to set the configuration.


In order to prevent exposure of this vulnerability from wireless clients,
disable wireless access to the web interface:

    Connect to the web interface, typically at
    Go to the Administration page
    Select 'Disable' next to the 'Wireless Access Web'
    Click the 'Save Settings' button.

Please note that this will only prevent wireless access, and not access
from one of the physical ports. Additionally, other vulnerabilities in
the httpd may allow exploitation of the router, even with this setting

In order to mitigate exposure of the router and internal network to
outside attackers, ensure encryption is enabled on the wireless
interface. The exact settings to use are dependent on your wireless
deployment policies.


Linksys has addressed this issue in version 4.20.7 of the firmware for the WRT54G Router.

Additionally, this vulnerability was fixed in version 1.05.2 of the WRT54GS router, with version 4 hardware.


A Mitre Corp. Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) number has not
been assigned yet.


06/07/2005   Initial vendor notification
06/07/2005   Initial vendor response
09/13/2005   Coordinated public disclosure


This vulnerability was discovered by Greg MacManus of iDEFENSE Labs.

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Copyright © 2005 Verisign, Inc.

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Disclaimer: The information in the advisory is believed to be accurate
at the time of publishing based on currently available information. Use
of the information constitutes acceptance for use in an AS IS condition.
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