Home News Security Flaw in TP-Link Router Receives 10 out of 10 Severity Rating

Security Flaw in TP-Link Router Receives 10 out of 10 Severity Rating

Security Flaw

A critical security vulnerability in TP-Link Archer routers has been rated with a perfect severity score of 10 out of 10, prompting urgent warnings from cybersecurity experts. The flaw, identified as CVE-2023-1389, is an unauthenticated command injection vulnerability found in the web management interface of TP-Link Archer AX21 (AX1800) routers. This exploit allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands remotely, leading to severe security breaches.

The Nature of the Vulnerability

The vulnerability, which stems from improper input sanitization in the locale API, was first discovered in early 2023 by researchers who reported it to TP-Link through the Zero Day Initiative. Despite a firmware update released in March 2023, the issue persists in many devices that have not been patched. The flaw allows remote attackers to send specially crafted requests to the router, leading to command execution that compromises the device.

Exploitation by Botnets

Multiple botnets, including variants of the notorious Mirai malware, have been actively exploiting this vulnerability. These botnets co-opt vulnerable routers into large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Reports indicate that the Mirai botnet specifically targets game servers, utilizing the compromised routers to launch powerful attacks that can overwhelm network resources.

According to Fortinet, a surge in malicious activities exploiting CVE-2023-1389 has been observed since March 2024, with infection attempts reaching up to 50,000 daily. The botnets employ different strategies to maintain control over the compromised devices, making them part of their network for malicious purposes.

Symptoms and Risks

Signs of an infected TP-Link router include frequent internet disconnections, unexplained changes in network settings, overheating of the device, and the resetting of administrator credentials. These symptoms indicate that the router has been compromised and is likely being used in malicious activities without the owner’s knowledge.

Mitigation and Recommendations

To protect against this vulnerability, users are advised to update their router firmware to the latest version provided by TP-Link. Additionally, changing default admin passwords and disabling web access to the admin panel if not necessary can help mitigate risks. TP-Link has released a firmware update that addresses this vulnerability, and users should ensure their devices are up-to-date.

The cybersecurity community emphasizes the importance of regular firmware updates and robust security practices to prevent such exploits. With many users still operating unpatched devices, the risk of widespread attacks remains high.


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