Meeting Owl videoconference device used by govs is a security disaster

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Owl Labs

The Assembly Owl Professional is a videoconference gadget with an array of cameras and microphones that captures 360-degree video and audio and robotically focuses on whoever is chatting with make conferences extra dynamic and inclusive. The consoles, that are barely taller than an Amazon Alexa and bear the likeness of a tree owl, are broadly utilized by state and native governments, schools, and regulation corporations.

A just lately revealed safety evaluation has concluded the gadgets pose an unacceptable threat to the networks they hook up with and the private data of those that register and administer them. The litany of weaknesses contains:

  • The publicity of names, e mail addresses, IP addresses, and geographic areas of all Assembly Owl Professional customers in a web-based database that may be accessed by anybody with information of how the system works. This information will be exploited to map community topologies or socially engineer or dox staff.
  • The gadget gives anybody with entry to it with the interprocess communication channel, or IPC, it makes use of to work together with different gadgets on the community. This data will be exploited by malicious insiders or hackers who exploit a few of the vulnerabilities discovered throughout the evaluation
  • Bluetooth performance designed to increase the vary of gadgets and supply distant management by default makes use of no passcode, making it attainable for a hacker in proximity to regulate the gadgets. Even when a passcode is optionally set, the hacker can disable it with out first having to produce it.
  • An entry level mode that creates a brand new Wi-Fi SSID whereas utilizing a separate SSID to remain related to the group community. By exploiting Wi-Fi or Bluetooth functionalities, an attacker can compromise the Assembly Owl Professional gadget after which use it as a rogue entry level that infiltrates or exfiltrates information or malware into or out of the community.
  • Photographs of captured whiteboard periods—that are imagined to be obtainable solely to assembly individuals—may very well be downloaded by anybody with an understanding of how the system works.

Obvious vulnerabilities stay unpatched

Researchers from modzero, a Switzerland- and Germany-based safety consultancy that performs penetration testing, reverse engineering, source-code evaluation, and threat evaluation for its purchasers, found the threats whereas conducting an evaluation of videoconferencing options on behalf of an unnamed buyer. The agency first contacted Assembly Owl-maker Owl Labs of Somerville, Massachusetts, in mid-January to privately report their findings. As of the time this publish went dwell on Ars, not one of the most obvious vulnerabilities had been fastened, leaving 1000’s of buyer networks in danger.

In a 41-page security disclosure report (PDF) the modzero researchers wrote:

Whereas the operational options of this product line are attention-grabbing, modzero doesn’t suggest utilizing these merchandise till efficient measures are utilized. The community and Bluetooth options can’t be turned off utterly. Even a standalone utilization, the place the Assembly Owl is just appearing as a USB digicam, shouldn’t be recommended. Attackers inside the proximity vary of Bluetooth can activate the community communication and entry vital IPC channels.

In an announcement, Owl Labs officers wrote:

Owl Labs takes safety severely: We’ve groups devoted to implementing ongoing updates to make our Assembly Owls smarter and to fixing safety flaws and bugs, with outlined processes for pushing out updates to Owl gadgets.

We launch updates month-to-month, and lots of the safety considerations highlighted within the authentic article have already been addressed and can start rollout subsequent week.

Owl Labs takes these vulnerabilities severely. To the very best of our information, there have by no means been any buyer safety breaches. We’ve both already addressed, or are within the strategy of addressing different factors raised within the analysis report.

Beneath are the precise updates we’re making to handle safety vulnerabilities, which will likely be obtainable in June 2022 and applied beginning tomorrow:

  • RESTful API to retrieve PII information will now not be attainable
  • Implement MQTT service restrictions to safe IoT comms
  • Eradicating entry to PII from a earlier proprietor within the UI when transferring a tool from one account to a different
  • Limiting entry or eradicating entry to switchboard port publicity
  • Repair for Wi-Fi AP tethering mode



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