Why It’s So Easy to Hack Your Smart Home

Every day, new smart home accessories go online for the first time to join the Internet of Things (IoT). Many of them enjoy the unwarranted trust of their owners. This blog post is a case study of the haunted smart home.

Earlier this year, I visited my family for a few days. After sitting and talking at the kitchen table for a bit, they told me about their new smart wall plugs that integrate into their Apple Home ecosystem. Using the plugs, they can turn on their kitchen lights from their phones — or automatically at sunset. Pretty cool. After I had a closer look at one of the plugs, I searched for the brand on the Internet, because I had never heard of it. Turns out, these “Meross Smart Plugs” are the first item that pops up on Amazon when you search for a HomeKit-compatible socket outlet that can switch “dumb” devices like lamps, coffee makers or hi-fi equipment on and off. At the time of writing, they cost about 17 € apiece.

As I had never heard of the brand and I would consider myself somewhat of a curious person, I thought it’d be a good idea to see if it was possible to control these plugs without being a part of the smart home environment. So I continued chatting with my family while investigating the local network.

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HAFNIUM EXCHANGE SERVER ATTACKS – What happened and how to protect yourself

an article by Carina Szkudlarek, Niklas Schildhauer and Jannik Smidt

This post is going to review the zero day exploit of the Microsoft Exchange Servers starting in January 2021.
It will look into the methods of SSRF and the exploitation of mistakes in the deserialization of input values to procure privileged code execution.


In early 2021, several vulnerabilities were discovered in the Microsoft Exchange server software of the 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 releases that could be used by attackers to gain access to such an Exchange server.

With Exchange Server, Microsoft offers a service with which e-mail communication can be controlled in networks, but electronic communication can also be checked for harmful files such as viruses. All incoming and outgoing e-mails end up on the corresponding Exchange server. From there they are distributed to the recipients. Although there are alternatives, numerous state and private-sector institutions around the world rely on Microsoft Exchange servers.

On January 6, 2021 the security company Volexity observed several attacks via a previously unpublished Exchange vulnerability. In the course of the following weeks there were additional individual attacks on selected Exchange servers.

Microsoft instantly planned to release a security patch. However, the responsible attacker group Hafnium had already started a large amount of mass scans starting several months prior to january 6th when the attack was first exploited (see R[17]) . Exchange servers that were vulnerable were automatically infected with a webshell. Less than a week later, Microsoft published several security updates. However only a few hours after the publication of these unscheduled updates for the known vulnerabilities, the unprecedented infection of all unpatched Exchange servers accessible via the Internet began. As a result, administrators had little time and opportunity to react.

Generally, the exploit of overall four known vulnerabilities can be used as a gateway to penetrate deeper into the corporate network, as the Exchange servers are often publicly accessible. Yet it only affects on-premise Microsoft Exchange Server and not Exchange Online or Microsoft 365.

According to estimates, generally around 250,000 Exchange servers worldwide are open like a barn door to cyberattacks. 30,000 US customers have already been hacked, according to Heise [R1] tens of thousands of Exchange servers are affected in Germany alone, some of them in German federal authorities, according to the BSI [see: R2]

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Improved Vulnerability Detection using Deep Representation Learning

Today’s software is more vulnerable to cyber attacks than ever before. The number of recorded vulnerabilities has almost constantly increased since the early 90s. The strong competition on the software market along with many innovative technologies getting released every year forces modern software companies to spend more resources on development and less resources on software quality and testing. In 2017 alone, 14.500 new vulnerabilities were recorded by the CVE (Common Vulnerability and Exposures) database, compared to the 6.000 from the previous year. This will continue in the years to come. [1]

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Cloud Security – Part 2: The vulnerabilities and threats of the cloud, current scientific work on cloud security, conclusion and outlook

I’m glad to welcome you to the second part of two blog posts about cloud security. In the first part, we looked at the current cloud market and learned about the concepts and technologies of the cloud. Thus, we created a basis for the areas of this post in which we will now deal with the vulnerabilities and threats of the cloud, have a look at current scientific work on the topic and finally conclude with a résumé and an outlook.

Once again, I wish you to enjoy reading! 🙂
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