Shaken-Not-Stirred Technology Mixed Right!

Brett Wynkoop

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System, Network, And Data Security Stupidity    
Image for Entry 1334629553Stupid Security Camera Trick

A few years ago I purchased 2 IP cameras from TigerDirect. They were Trendnet TV-IP 110 security cameras. Before I purchased them I determined by speaking to a Trendnet representative that the cameras ran GNU/Linux. This would be good if I needed to do some custom work on them. I was also told that all features of the camera would work using any browser on any computer. Well, I was upset when I got the camera and discovered that MS-Windows and Active-X were required to access all the features of the camera. I was even more upset to discover that there was no ssh or ssl on the camera. A phone call to the Trendnet tech support about the total lack of security was met with the response that it had to be secure because there was a password. It seemed that the fools at Trendnet never heard of snooping the wire to get plain text credentials. I further poked at the camera and found the flaw recently reported by the Console Cowboys. I made another call to Trendnet again requesting the source code and offering to work with their people to fix the issues. Not only did they refuse the source code request, but they also still refused to see the GLARING OBVIOUS security flaws in their product.

I put the cameras away since TigerDirect would not accept a return on them. This past week I pulled them out with the thought of putting them to use somehow. I discovered that Trendnet has at last posted the code, so there is some hope that if I put up a cross compile environment I just may be able to fix the issues.

Unfortunately the most recent firmware update (Feb of 2012) from Trendnet still has all the security flaws of no SSL or SSH and the ability to BYPASS the BASIC AUTH.

I just checked several other IP cameras from other makers to find that they too do not seem to have any idea about system or network security either. What is worse is some of them seem to also be GNU/Linux based, but do not seem to supply source code.

While Trendnet does supply source code they seem to mix up all the sources for all their cameras into one zip file. They seem to be just following the letter of the GPL, and not the spirit of the GPL. They provide no guidance as to what needs to be compiled for what camera and also do not provide any information on how to set up the the binary firmware package.

Why in this day and age are the above issues still common? I strongly believe it is because those of us in the know just accept that this is the way of things. We do not make enough noise about security flaws such as poorly designed hardware/software systems and most so-called security cameras. For years vendors have been supplying routers, cameras, and other devices with only http or telnet access. Many vendors I have spoken too have used the excuse that including ssh or ssl on the administrative interface would take too much memory of disk space. We all know that neither statement is true.

Time for change:

It is time for a change. The only way this change can happen is if we refuse to accept such poor excuses for products as are currently on the market. We need to tell our friends and family about the security flaws and encourage them to vote with their pocket books. We, as knowledgable professionals, need to put pressure on vendors to supply products that are not 20+ years out of date in their security layers. When you see a poor product make noise. First contact the maker and tell them. If
they will not fix the problem then post the flaw everywhere you can. Let everyone know about the problems. If we, the geek elite, do nothing there is no telling what harm will come from poorly engineered products. It might also be time for a class action lawsuit against a vendor or two for using known flawed security practices in their products.

Virtual within virtual    
For all you FreeBSD lovers who have been upset that you could not get your favorite OS on Amazon EC2 now is the time to rejoice! As of the FreeBSD 9.0 release there are public AMI files for FreeBSD 9.0 that just work when booted in a standard EC2 host. You will find one thing somewhat unpleasing about the experience though......the icon next to the working FreeBSD images is an MS-Windows icon. This is an artifact of the way the author of the AMI had to prepare the image. He started with an Amazon MS-Windows image, tossed the MS-Windows content out and replaced it with FreeBSD 9.

FreeBSD in the Amazon Cloud has been a long time coming. Some of the reasons that have held it back were bugs in AWS and a small bug in the FreeBSD Xen support. These seem to have all been fixed as reported at

Since Amazon is offering free micro images I decided to try the new image out. I went through the standard EC2 micro image setup and picked the FreeBSD 9 Release image (with the ms-windows icon) and booted an instance. A short time later I was logged in as root via ssh using pub/private keys. Well this was too good to be true, so I decided to do what I would on any brand new virgin minimal install system.

# portsnap fetch
...............output redacted for size..........
# portsnap extract
# cd /usr/ports/shells/bash
# make install && make distclean

Well everything worked as expected and in no time I had bash installed. I usually do a make package, and rarely do a dist clean so I can deinstall and reinstall with ease, but the limited size of the Free EC2 disk image made me decide to dump the distfiles and dispense with keeping a package around to clutter things up.

Since this went so well I decided to install a few other tools and toys. The build and install of screen, sudo, and ezjail all were fast non-events.

Since I installed ezjail I had to try it out......So a couple of short ezjail commands latter I had a working jail called demo100 on

[root@ip-10-28-90-182 ~]# uname -a
FreeBSD ip-10-28-90-182 9.0-RELEASE FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE #0: Mon Jan 16 18:25:55 UTC 2012 root@ip-10-17-42-118:/usr/obj/i386.i386/usr/src/sys/XENHVM i386
[root@ip-10-28-90-182 ~]# jls
JID IP Address Hostname Path
1 demo100 /usr/jails/demo100
[root@ip-10-28-90-182 ~]# df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
/dev/ad0a 9.7G 2.5G 6.4G 28% /
devfs 1.0k 1.0k 0B 100% /dev
/usr/jails/basejail 9.7G 2.5G 6.4G 28% /usr/jails/demo100/basejail
devfs 1.0k 1.0k 0B 100% /usr/jails/demo100/dev
fdescfs 1.0k 1.0k 0B 100% /usr/jails/demo100/dev/fd
procfs 4.0k 4.0k 0B 100% /usr/jails/demo100/proc
[root@ip-10-28-90-182 ~]# ezjail-admin console demo100
Last login: Wed Jan 25 05:56:51 on pts/1
FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE (XENHVM) #0: Mon Jan 16 18:25:55 UTC 2012

Welcome to FreeBSD!

Before seeking technical support, please use the following resources:

o Security advisories and updated errata information for all releases are
at - always consult the ERRATA section
for your release first as it's updated frequently.

o The Handbook and FAQ documents are at and,
along with the mailing lists, can be searched by going to If the doc package has been installed
(or fetched via pkg_add -r lang-freebsd-doc, where lang is the
2-letter language code, e.g. en), they are also available formatted
in /usr/local/share/doc/freebsd.

If you still have a question or problem, please take the output of
`uname -a', along with any relevant error messages, and email it
as a question to the mailing list. If you are
unfamiliar with FreeBSD's directory layout, please refer to the hier(7)
manual page. If you are not familiar with manual pages, type `man man'.

Edit /etc/motd to change this login announcement.

demo100# df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity Mounted on
/dev/ad0a 9.7G 2.5G 6.4G 28% /

I do not know about you, but I can see lots of interesting things one could do running jails on an AWS EC2 instance.

I am about to suggest something clever as a solution to a client's problem. If the client goes for the proposal and I make it work I will be sure to tell you all about it!

A short introduction    
Welcome to the first installment of Shaken-Not-Stirred. My friend Matt Simmons poked me a bit to take the plunge and start writing the blog. I can not promise any sort of schedule for postings, but I can promise that the postings will make you think and if you are not careful might even pass on useful information.

I have been involved in technology since the 1970's, when as a high school kid I was repairing 2 way radio equipment for the state police. My first shot at computers was at university with the Dartmouth Time Sharing System in 1977. My first programing language was of course Dartmouth Basic, quickly followed by Fortran and PL1. My introduction to Unix came in the form of a discussion of this hot new system with Eric Raymond when we were on a fall camping trip in the Catskill Mountains in about 1979 or 1980. I got my hands on the TRS-80 Model 1, the Sinclair ZX-80 and the Radio Shack Color Computer as a ghost reviewer for a buddy that had way too much review work to do on his own in the early 1980's. My first Unix admin job was running an AT&T telephone PBX that ran using tape as random access storage instead of the then very expensive disks.

Yes I have seen my share of history in the world of computing and high technology. I have seen the good, bad, and ugly. I hope to help you avoid the bad and ugly, but those that do not learn from history are destined to relive it!

-Brett Wynkoop

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