SEC Consult found that SSH cryptographic keys and HTTPS secure server certificates from 4,000 different devices offered by 70 different manufacturers and found a security nightmare. Credentials are often hard-coded and re-used among many different devices from sometimes even different companies.
In fact, of 4,000 devices, SEC found only 580 unique keys. This basically means that 4,000 rooms will have 580 different locks.
The sort of keys involved are home routers, modems, IP cameras, VoIP phones and the vulnerablities are not smalll.
The static keys come with the software or the software development kit (SDK) the software is based on. The logic of reusing them is because a no one is ever going to maliciously SSH their way into someone’s fridge.
SEC said: “The source of the keys is an interesting aspect. Some keys are only found in one product or several products in the same product line. In other cases we found the same keys in products from various different vendors. The reasons vary from shared/leaked/stolen code, white-label devices produced by different vendors (OEM, ODM products) to hardware/chipset/SoC vendor software development kits (SDKs) or board support packages firmware is based on.”
The matter is being tracked and addressed with help from the Carnegie Melon University Software Engineering Institute. Venders are apparently also looking into it.