Experts Explain How Solar Gateways Can Be Used By Hackers

A team of specialists from the information security company FireEye analyzed a gateway for solar power plants and identified a number of vulnerabilities that could be very useful for cybercriminals.

The object of study was the ConnectPort X2e solution manufactured by Digi International, or rather the version of the device offered by Tesla under the SolarCity brand. For reference, Tesla acquired solar panel maker SolarCity in 2016.

ConnectPort X2e is a programmable gateway for home and small commercial solar installations, typically used to read data from a solar inverter and connect to cloud applications.

During the research, the specialists discovered two vulnerabilities (CVE-2020-9306 and CVE-2020-12878). The first is due to the presence of hardcoded credentials, and the second is a privilege escalation vulnerability, both of which have received a high severity level.

As explained in FireEye, an attacker with network access to the target device can exploit the above vulnerabilities, gain access with superuser rights and take over control of the device. By compromising the gateway, a hacker can set up a backdoor and gain permanent access to a home or corporate network.

Typically, the ConnectPort X2e gateway is protected by a “local” firewall and it is difficult to carry out remote attacks against it, unless the user intentionally opens access to the device from the Internet.

Experts informed Digi International and Tesla about the found vulnerabilities, the problems have already been fixed. More detailed technical information can be found in the report in two parts .

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