Setting up a hidden service correctly and securely is sadly still a difficult process. For our third installment of this series I present the following cautionary tale.
Remember hidden services aren't hidden - while the IP addresses of the service is hidden by Tor - the existence of the service is not. If the service doesn't require authentication then anyone with the onion address can access it.
Initially the site looked rather plain, a simple It works! default Apache install. However, the
/server-status page told a very different story.
The server was clearly hosted in someones home - as evidenced from a dynamic DNS setup on the observable hostname and that the only clearnet IP accessing the site was it's own.
The server was also hosting two applications - OwnCloud and OpenEnergyMonitor - both being accessed frequently.
OwnCloud (a personal cloud software) servers are not a rare thing on the Dark Web and most are secured appropriately.
OpenEnergyMonitor is "a project to develop open-source energy monitoring tools to help us relate to our use of energy, our energy systems and the challenge of sustainable energy."
I had never heard of it before today, but something about the OpenEnergyMonitor requests stuck out like sore-thumb:
That's right an API key was being passed via the URL! This meant that while the OpenEnergyMonitor instance appeared to have a user name and password, it would be possible to use the API key to nullify that protection!
It should be noted that this is not a fault of OpenEnergyMonitor - it's generally a valid assumption that only authenticated users are permitted to see HTTP request logs - so passing the API key via the URL is likely perfectly safe in most setups that involve OpenEnegyMonitor.
What could be do with that API key if we were so inclined?
- Monitor authenticated feeds, including power usage of any connected devices.
- Publish our own data to screw up monitoring.
- Depending on setup, this kind of monitoring may be tied into other processes; and we could use this to: for example, turn the heating on or off!
But the truth is we don't even need an API key to obtain some information about the monitoring station. OpenEnergyMonitor provides a public API which gives is some data to play with:
The opsec failures of this server go on - hiding in hidden directories are backups of old Trello boards and other sensitive information. All exposed because of a simple Apache localhost bypass.
There are safe and secure ways to host your IoT setups as a hidden service - this particular case was exposed because of a localhost bypass in Apache, had the hidden service required authentication then even the Apache issue would not have exposed anything.
Note: This is a series of posts chronically some of the more extreme examples of operational security failures discovered by OnionScan
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