This Netgear SOHO switch has 15 – count 'em! – vulns, which means you need to upgrade the firmware... now

One of them is a critical RCE bug

Netgear has released a swathe of security and firmware updates for its JGS516PE Ethernet switch after researchers from NCC Group discovered 15 vulnerabilities in the device – including an unauthenticated remote code execution flaw.

The switch is vulnerable to nine high-severity vulns and a further five medium-rated ones, said NCC Group IT security consultant Manuel Ginés Rodriquez in a damning blog post about his findings.

The critical vuln, an RCE (CVE-2020-26919), came about because firmware versions prior to "failed to correctly implement access controls in one of its endpoints, allowing unauthenticated attackers to bypass authentication and execute actions with administrator privileges."

Rodriguez wrote that from the router's default login.html page "every section... could be used as a valid endpoint to submit POST requests being the action defined by the submitId argument." Ordinary low-privileged users could therefore execute system commands.

This opens the door for a malicious person to hijack your switch, perhaps installing malware on it to silently man-in-the-middle your internet connection. Small wonder NCC gave it a CVSSv3 score of 9.8, almost at the highest severity of 10.0.

On top of that was an active-by-default TFTP server running on the device which permitted the upload and execution of unsigned firmware updates, allowing anyone at all to upload potentially malicious updates to the switch even if they weren't aware of the RCE vuln (CVE-2020-35220).


If you own one of these 45 Netgear devices, replace it: Kit maker won't patch vulnerable gear despite live proof-of-concept code


"The uploaded file is being written directly into the image partition, overwriting the previous information before being validated," noted Rodriguez.

Netgear did not respond to a request for comment. The company has form for its product lines containing multiple severe vulnerabilities, as The Register found last year when Netgear decided it wouldn't update the firmware for a swathe of vulnerable small office/home office routers – even though researchers had published live proof-of-concept code for exploits targeting the 40 devices.

In the company's defence it has published firmware updates for the JGS516PE switch on its website. The current version is

The firm, whose good reputation has taken a bit of a bashing in recent years, also came under fire from customers last year after they discovered that its latest managed switches do not offer access to the full user interface unless you register them through the Netgear Cloud. ®

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • 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

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022