Two million voice recordings of kids and their families were exposed online and repeatedly held to ransom – because the maker of microphone-fitted, internet-connected stuffed toys used an insecure MongoDB installation.
Essentially, the $40 toys, built by CloudPets, connect to the internet via an iOS or Android app on a nearby smartphone or tablet, and exchange voice messages between children and their friends and relatives.
For example, a parent away on a work trip can open the app on their smartphone, record an audio message, and beam it to their kid’s CloudPets toy via a smartphone within Bluetooth range of the gizmo at home; the recording plays when the tyke press a button on a paw.
Similarly, the youngsters can record messages using the stuffed animal, and send the audio over to their mom, dad, grandparent, and so on, via the internet-connected app.
Cute … How Cloudpets passes messages from app to toy
These recordings, along with records of 820,000 CloudPets.com accounts associated with the each of the bears, has leaked in the hands of criminals due to a poorly secured NoSQL database holding 10GB of internal information.
CloudPets’ internet-facing MongoDB installation, on port 2701 at 18.104.22.168, required no authentication to access, and was repeatedly extorted by miscreants. The database contains links to .WAV files of Cloudpets’ voice messages hosted in the Amazon cloud, again with no authentication, allowing the mass slurping of more than two million highly personal conversations between families and their little ones.
It appears crooks found the database, presumably by scanning the public ‘net for insecure MongoDB installations, took a copy of all the data, deleted that data on the server, and left a note demanding payment for the safe return of a copy of the database. This happened three times, we’re told.
Of course, anyone else wandering by the database could have swiped the records for themselves and kept quiet, so the information could be in the hands of just about any miscreant. The IP address of the database is also the address of the backend web server used by the Android and iOS app accompanying the toy. That app was developed by Romanian biz mReady. The IP belongs to server host Linode, which is presumably providing the machine.
Computer security breach expert Troy Hunt, who maintains the HaveIBeenPwned website, was tipped off about the insecurity of CloudPets, a brand of Spiral Toys, and went public today with details of the cockup.
“This is kids’ voices recorded on teddy bears,” Hunt told The Register after spending a week investigating the security blunder. “I can picture my four-year-old girl, sitting in her room – it’s hard to picture a more innocent scenario – and all these actors have access to what she says to her teddy bear.”
As proof that something was wrong, Hunt’s informant provided more than 580,000 records from the CloudPets database, along with screenshots of his three attempts to alert the toy manufacturer to the gaping hole. Each warning had, we’re told, fallen on deaf ears.
As Hunt dug deeper, things got more bizarre: yes, the account passwords in the database were hashed with bcrypt, but the website had no password rules, and its tutorial used only a three-character password – meaning many of the passwords were crackable anyway. The account records contained email addresses, hashed passwords, user IDs and login times.
Niall Merrigan, a Capgemini solution architect who investigates breaches on his own time, has been tracking MongoDB installations held hostage on the open internet. He helped Hunt confirm the CloudPets’ database had been hit multiple times by extortionists.
Using internet device search engine Shodan.io to look at historic snapshots of exposed online systems, Merrigan found that in January, Cloudpets’ database was again and again deleted and replaced with DBs called “PLEASE_READ”, “README_MISSING_DATABASES”, and “PWNED_SECURE_YOUR_STUFF_SILLY” – a sign the data was being held to ransom for one Bitcoin at a time.
Hunt concluded: “The CloudPets data was accessed many times by unauthorised parties before being deleted and then on multiple occasions, held for ransom.” He’s added the 800,000-plus email addresses in the vulnerable database to HaveIBeenPwned.com, so as to alert owners of Cloudpets toys. He also warns against acquiring web-connected toys because it’s too easy for a single error to expose children to snooping.
His advice to MongoDB sysadmins is simple: don’t accept the default configuration that allows anonymous unauthenticated access, and instead secure your installation.
“I can see both sides of this,” Hunt told The Register. “People are screwing up, but to be honest, I haven’t seen this with SQL Server, because you can’t stand it up with anonymous open access. You need a baseline that forces you have an account and forces you to have a password.”
A spokesperson for Cloudpets and Spiral Toys, based in California, was not available for comment. ®
via The Register http://bit.ly/2lj2YOW