This one weird trick turns your Google Home Hub into a doorstop

Secret API leaves door open for remote commands from other gadgets sharing its Wi-Fi


Updated A security researcher says an undocumented API in the Google Home Hub assistant can be exploited to kick the gizmo off its own wireless network.

Flaw finder Jerry Gamblin says the API allows the device to receive commands from systems and handhelds sharing its local wireless network that can, among other things, reboot the unit, or even cause it to disconnect from the Wi-Fi, necessitating a manual reconfiguration.

The problem, Gamblin said, stems from the Google Home Hub's inclusion of a web-based software interface that had not previously been disclosed. That API can be used by a computer or device on the same Wi-Fi network as the Home Hub to perform tasks on the targeted voice-controlled assistant without any authentication.

"Since none of these endpoints require authentication being malicious on a network with these present is trivial," Gamblin explained earlier this week.

Gamblin explained that web requests can be used to carry out instructions such as showing basic system data or running a speed test. They can also show the currently configured network information.

More importantly, the API also allows for commands that will cause the Home Hub to reboot itself or delete the current configured network from the device. Cutting that network connection would temporarily render the Home Hub unusable until the owner manually reconfigured it with the Google Home app.

Without further ado, here is the reboot code:

nmap --open -p 8008 192.168.1.0/24 | awk '/is up/ {print up}; {gsub (/\(|\)/,""); up = $NF}' | xargs -I % curl -Lv -H Content-Type:application/json --data-raw '{"params":"now"}' http://%:8008/setup/reboot

And here is the delete network command:

nmap --open -p 8008 192.168.1.0/24 | awk '/is up/ {print up}; {gsub (/(|)/,""); up = $NF}' | xargs -I % curl -Lv -H Content-Type:application/json --data-raw '{ "wpa_id": 0 }' http://%:8008/setup/forget_wifi

We trust everyone will use those codes responsibly and with the most noble of intentions. Needless to say, Gamblin is less than impressed with the state of security on his new Google Home Hub.

"I am genuinely shocked by how poor the overall security of these devices are, even more so when you see that these endpoints have been known for years and relatively well documented," Gamblin said.

"I usually would have worked directly with Google to report these issues if they had not previously disclosed, but due to the sheer amount of prior work online and committed code in their own codebase, it is obvious they know."

Google did not return a request for comment on the matter. ®

Updated to add

A spokesperson for Google confirmed that any device, computer, or smartphone on the Wi-Fi network of a Home Hub can command the assistant as described above – that includes mischievous malware on a PC, for example:

The APIs mentioned in this claim are used by mobile apps to configure the device and are only accessible when those apps and the Google Home device are on the same Wi-Fi network.


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022