A set of serious network security vulnerabilities collectively known as Ripple20 roiled the IoT landscape when they came to light last week, and the problems they pose for IoT-equipped businesses could be both dangerous and difficult to solve.
Ripple20 was originally discovered by Israel-based security company JSOF in September 2019. It affects a lightweight, proprietary TCP/IP library created by a small company in Ohio called Treck, which has issued a patch for the vulnerabilities. Several of those vulnerabilities would allow for remote-code execution, allowing for data theft, malicious takeovers and more, said the security vendor.
That, however, isn’t the end of the problem. The TCP/IP library that contains the vulnerabilities has been used in a huge range of connected devices, from medical devices to industrial control systems to printers, and actually delivering and applying the patch is a vast undertaking. JSOF said that “hundreds of millions” of devices could be affected. Many devices don’t have the capacity to receive remote patches, and Terry Dunlap, co-founder of security vendor ReFirm Labs, said that there are numerous hurdles to getting patches onto older equipment in particular.