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Intel-Powered Broadband Modems Highly Vulnerable To DoS Attack ( 59

"It's being reported by users from the DSLReports forum that the Puma 6 Intel cable modem variants are highly susceptible to a very low-bandwidth denial-of-service attack," writes Slashdot reader Idisagree. The Register reports: Effectively, if there's someone you don't like, and they are one of thousands upon thousands of people using a Puma 6-powered home gateway, and you know their public IP address, you can kick them off the internet, we're told... According to one engineer...the flaw would be "trivial" to exploit in the wild, and would effectively render a targeted box useless for the duration of the attack... "It can be exploited remotely, and there is no way to mitigate the issue."

This is particularly frustrating for Puma 6 modem owners because the boxes are pitched as gigabit broadband gateways: the devices can be potentially choked and knocked out simply by receiving traffic that's a fraction of the bandwidth their owners are paying for... The Puma 6 chipset is used in a number of ISP-branded cable modems, including some Xfinity boxes supplied by Comcast in the US and the latest Virgin Media hubs in the UK.

The original submission also notes there's already a class action lawsuit over the performance of cable modems with Intel's Puma 6 chipset, and adds "It would appear the Atom chip was never going to live up to the task it was designed for."
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Intel-Powered Broadband Modems Highly Vulnerable To DoS Attack

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  • Given that my Atom server has no problem saturating both gigabit network ports at the same time somehow I doubt the problem is the performance of the Atom chip referenced as being beefed up in the summary and more due to a crappy implementation of Puma 6 itself.

    • Re:Atom chip? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 30, 2017 @10:20AM (#54328539)

      It's not the Atom cores, it's the bolted on NAT accelerator with 2048 max entries + 30s timeout for UDP "connections" + firmware too stupid to fall back to software NAT when the hardware table is full.

    • I have access to a Puma6-based device and sure, the dual-core Atom is fast enough to do a lot of stuff, but the single ARM-core is excruciatingly slow. And guess what? All the cable-management stuff is relegated to the ARM-core, the web-UI runs on the ARM-core, nearly everything runs on it and the x86-cores, in the meantime, just sit idle -- they are only used for NAS-functionality, streaming DVB-C content and Google Music. It's ridiculous how stupid the whole thing is. The box is also ridiculously easy to

      • Yeah my point exactly. The Atom itself as a CPU is just fine, and that link back to a previous post talking about newer versions of Atoms is completely unrelated to whatever it is they botched in this implementation.

  • I take it this stupid article refers to NAT routers, and not cable modems at all.

    Anyone with the slightest bit of savvy runs a straight cable modem connected to a completely separate router. And, having suffered with various commodity routers such as Netgear, they all suck donkey balls. Do what I did. Break down and get a real Sonicwall TZ-170 (used/surplus of course).

    • by Hachima ( 718971 )
      Actually this is a pure cable modem issue. [] is a test that can be used to see if your modem is affected. [] lists some of the affected modems. The ARRIS SB6190 is one of the more popular modems on the list that is affected.
    • I take it this stupid article refers to NAT routers, and not cable modems at all.

      These devices are actually both routers and cable-modems.

  • Whew. (Score:4, Funny)

    by sims 2 ( 994794 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:10AM (#54328729)

    Got scared there for a second then I remembered we can't get gigabit here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by djc6 ( 86604 )

      Puma 6 chipset has been used in modems/gateways since 2012. Here is a partial list of potentially impacted products:

      Arris SB6190
      Arris TG1672G
      Arris TM1602
      Super Hub 3 (Arris TG2492LG) (commonly - virgin media)
      Hitron CGN3 / CDA / CGNV series modems:
      Hitron CDA-32372
      Hitron CDE-32372
      Hitron CDA3-35
      Hitron CGNV4
      Hitron CGNM-3552 (commonly - Rogers)
      Hitron CGN3 (eg CGN3-ACSMR) 2013 link
      Hitron CGNM-2250 (commonly - Shaw)
      Linksys CM3024
      Linksys CM3016
      TP-Link CR7000
      Netgear AC1750 C6300 AC1900
      Netgear CM700
      Telstra Gateway

  • by ameline ( 771895 ) <> on Sunday April 30, 2017 @12:03PM (#54328987) Homepage Journal

    There is apparently a packet spray pattern that causes the CableModem (CM) portion of the Puma 6 to reboot. (likely segfault) The CM on a puma 6 is run by an ARM Cpu (not the x86 atom), the problem is with broken hardware optimization -- specifically the overflow handling on a fairly small table (2032 entry) likely built of CAM (content addressable memory) intended to accelerate external/internal mappings. That table has entries inserted when any packet arrives with a new address. Spew enough packets from enough different addresses and the table overflows -- that overflow requires (slow) processing to handle.

    Disabling the accelerator caps bandwidth to ~60Mbps, and the DoS attack is mitigated.

    But the fact that there is a pattern of (external) packets that *crashes* the CM indicates a potential vulnerability in the CM firmware that would allow a complete takeover of the CM OS.

    That would be a global disaster.

    One proposed mitigation is to use software mapping for packets from external sources and only add mappings to that small table for packets from the LAN side (not the WAN). This would probably have minimal impact for most -- capping speeds to 60Mbps on connections until a packet originating from the LAN side of things has gone through the device.

    But a hostile (and clever enough) hacker may still be able to trick the device into crashing and exposing it to takeover if they can run software on both sides of the device (LAN and WAN) attacking it from both simultaneously.

    The Puma 6 is a bit of a debacle -- it may very well have to be recalled.

    • So the Puma is the dog, and even if you are just using the modem in bridge mode, the chipset is still the DOCIS modem... which might not be impacted directly by this vulnerability, but give it time?
      • by ameline ( 771895 )

        NO This has *Nothing* to do with the gateway capabilities and everything to do with the Cable Modem part of Puma 6. I have been able to hang my Hitron CDA-3 modem (no router/gateway or WiFi in it) by spraying it. Haven't found the magic reboot pattern, but its early yet.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.