Supposed spy-busting Anonabox insecure, says Cloak Project

Kicked-off-Kickstarter kit has unencrypted Wi-Fi, hard-coded admin password


Updated A developer at the Cloak Project is about to reignite the Anonabox controversy with an analysis of the device that finds it still runs unencrypted Wi-Fi and has a poorly-secured network-reachable admin interface.

Anonabox has advised The Register that the issues did exist, but have been patched – update in detail at the end of this story.

Anonabox hit the headlines in October 2014 after raising a motza for crowd-funding, but in short order, security experts claimed there were holes in the supposedly spook-busting kit.

The Cloak project says it's analysed a brand-new unit, and the Wi-Fi is still unencrypted.

The tester also found that while the IPv4 address is locked down nice and tight, the people configuring the Linux distribution in Anonabox forgot to protect it from IPv6 access.

There are two ports open on the v6 interface, the tester says: Port 80, which provides access to the Web interface of the unit, with the hard-coded password “admin”.

More seriously, though, port 32891 is also listening over IPv6 – and that port allows access to the unit's SSH shell (provided by the lightweight Dropbear server) – again with root-admin as the user-password combo.

“There you have it - root shell on an Anonabox without changing a single thing”, the post notes.

The author criticises the lack of a source code release for Anonabox, and says at least the device needs a firmware update to kill off the hard-coded admin password.

The large dump-files the post provides shows that the OpenWRT implementation on Anonabox was built in China, and that users are blocked from changing the default password – or, for that matter, from applying encryption to the wireless interface:

Normally, OpenWrt (which the Anonabox is based on) is running a web-based user interface that will enable the user to change the device configuration. Pointing the browser to:

http://126.16.2.1

resulted in - well - absolutely nothing. In other words, there doesn't appear to be any way whatsoever that a user can make this security device - well - ahem – secure.

After being suspended by Kickstarter, Anonabox moved its crowd-funding campaign to Indiegogo, where it's raised more than $US80,000.

Vulture South has asked Anonabox to comment. ®

Updated to add

Anonabox's August Germar has told us the security shortcomings were addressed by March 20, 2015, after the upstart was acquired by Sochule.

Regarding the SSH server with a hard-coded root password, Germar's response is given verbatim:

From the audit, it looks like the version they used had port 80 open over ipv6, but not ipv4. The other port 32891 was listening for ssh but was a randomized port that would change every reboot based on the dropbear configuration of 0 and was also accessible by ipv6 only from the LAN or Wifi.

The default password was admin, but this was removed in the above mentioned patch. Luckily, because we had only begun shipping devices out at the beginning of March, not too many anonaboxes were shipped with that configuration. We offered anyone who had a device with that setup a free upgrade to the newer firmware and that we would pay shipping up to $10 to perform the update, which some people did. We posted it on Twitter, Facebook and on our website blog, and also sent out emails to customers who got the first batch of devices to see if they were interested in the free update.

So: if you believe you have an early and vulnerable version of Anonabox, get in touch with the company to arrange for a firmware update – which may involve you packaging it up and sending it back. ®

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