Serious Vulnerabilities Plague Select ASUS Routers Requiring Manual Firmware Update to Fix

It's not too often that a vendor chooses to remain silent about vulnerabilities plaguing its product(s), and it's even rarer to remain silent when fixes are available. For those using N or AC-based ASUS routers, though, it's important to take note: A number of rather serious vulnerabilities might exist if your router's not running the latest firmware.

Most of the vulnerabilities have to do with unauthorized access to networked drives being made possible, either through basic Samba connections or otherwise (lighthttpd, for example). Further, there's the risk of someone being able to entirely bypass the router's authentication.

Affected models: RT-AC66R, RT-AC66U, RT-N66R, RT-N66U, RT-AC56U, RT-N56R, RT-N56U, RT-N14U, RT-N16, RT-N16R

What makes the situation surrounding these vulnerabilities even stranger is that despite their relative severity, using the firmware check option in the admin is unlikely to yield anything other than a "The router's current firmware is the latest version." message. That's at least the case with me and my RT-N66U - not even a non-beta update from last month is triggered.

For the RT-N66U in particular, ASUS shows these fixes as being handled with the latest (manual) firmware update:

  • Fixed lighthttpd vulnerability.
  • Fixed cross-site scripting vulnerability (CWE-79).
  • Fixed the authentication bypass (CWW-592).
  • Added notification to help avoid security risks.
  • Fixed network place(samba) and FTP vulnerability.

It's important to note that simply using one of the affected routers doesn't make you vulnerable; instead, I believe every single one of them is triggered when a certain cloud-like service is enabled (AiCloud, for example). This isn't too dissimilar from the issue we spoke of just the other day regarding select Linksys routers.

Nonetheless, it should go without saying: If you own one of these routers, you'd be wise to hit-up ASUS' support site and grab the latest firmware update.