Realtek vulnerability affects more than 65 hardware manufacturers

A security vulnerability within the Realtek RTL819xD module allows attackers to gain access to the device, installed operating systems and other network devices. The issue is understood to affect at least 65 hardware manufacturers and hundreds of thousands of devices.

The chips in question are used by almost all well-known manufacturers and can be found in VoIP and wireless routers, repeaters, IP cameras and smart lighting controls.

"Our security reseachers have discovered and analysed this vulnerability, which affects hundreds of thousands of devices. We notified Realtek, and they immediately responded and provided an appropriate patch,” said Florian Lukavsky managing director of firmware testing company, IoT Inspector. “Manufacturers using vulnerable Wi-Fi modules are strongly encouraged to check their devices and provide security patches to their users.”

IoT Inspector probes the firmware of IoT devices such as routers, IP cameras or printers. In this particular case, the company is making its platform available to potentially affected manufacturers and users for a free check.

According to Forrester, only 38% of enterprise security decision makers worldwide have sufficient policies and tools in place to properly manage IoT devices.

"We find new security vulnerabilities every day, most of which are directly mandated by manufacturers," Lukavsky explains. "The IT security mindset needs to include all devices connected to networks, regular audits and patches. Sometimes, a patch is itself the source of a new vulnerability. Few affected companies respond as quickly and thoroughly as Realtek. However, manufacturers are now also required to patch vulnerable Realtek components in their devices, while users are urged to check their devices and update them if necessary."

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