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Supermicro chip has an unencrypted admin password

Over 30,000 servers affected
Fri Jun 20 2014, 17:13
Security threats - password theft

THOUSANDS OF SERVERS are vulnerable to attack because the administrator password was embedded in plain text on one of the chips during manufacturing.

The Supermicro WPCM450 mainboard's dirty little secret can be easily downloaded by connecting to the correct port of the server and scanning the Baseband Management Controller (BMC).

The discovery was made by Zachary Wikholm, chief engineer at security firm, who also noted that many of the systems affected were running an outdated Linux kernel.

Wikholm said that 31,964 servers containing the faulty chips were online during his research and of those 3,296 were using the default password. He was also able to see that over 9.8 million IP addresses around the world have port 49152 open.

Finding the vulnerable servers would not be difficult, he added, as they are running a specially modified version of an outdated Linux kernel that would be a flashing red light to anyone looking.

Wikholm wrote, "It is time to call for stronger security of embedded platforms... devices can no longer dwell amongst the anonymity of the nearly 4.3 billion IPv4 addresses. Recent findings on the above platforms have proven everything is visible. With the advent of IPv6 and the 'Internet of Things', we as both customers and vendors need to ensure the security of our networks and connected devices."

Supermicro no longer uses the WPCM450 chip, with its present motherboard range employing the AST2400 chip instead. A patch is being developed and Supermicro is working with Wikholm to come up with a solution to this problem. µ


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