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Forescout Research spotlights 21 new vulnerabilities

Impact includes popular routers and open source components used to connect critical local networks in energy, healthcare, transportation and emergency services.

Raising the alarm on vulnerabilities.
Raising the alarm on vulnerabilities.

Obscure Technologies, the sole distributor of Forescout Technologies – a global cyber security leader – has announced that Forescout has released “SIERRA:21 – Living on the Edge”, an analysis of 21 newly discovered vulnerabilities within OT/IOT routers and open source software components. The report, produced by Forescout Research, Vedere Labs, a leading global team dedicated to uncovering vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure, emphasises the continued risk to critical infrastructure and sheds light on possible mitigations.

“SIERRA:21 – Living on the Edge” features research into Sierra Wireless AirLink cellular routers and some of its open source components, such as TinyXML and OpenNDS. Sierra Wireless routers are popular – an open database of WiFi networks shows 245 000 networks worldwide running Sierra Wireless for a variety of applications. For example, Sierra Wireless routers are used for police vehicles connecting to a central network management system or to stream surveillance video; in manufacturing plants for industrial asset monitoring; in healthcare facilities providing temporary connectivity; and to manage electric vehicle charging stations. The 21 new vulnerabilities have the potential to stop vital communications that could impact everyday life.

Forescout Research further finds:

The attack surface is expansive, with 86 000 vulnerable routers still exposed online. Less than 10% of these routers are confirmed to be patched against known previous vulnerabilities found since 2019.

Regions with the highest number of exposed devices includes:

68 605 devices in The United States

5 580 devices in Canada

3 853 devices in Australia

2 329 devices in France

1 001 devices in Thailand

Among the 21 vulnerabilities, one has critical severity (CVSS score 9.6), nine have high severity and 11 have medium severity. These vulnerabilities allow attackers to steal credentials, take control of a router by injecting malicious code, persist on the device and use it as an initial access point into critical networks.

Patching can’t fix everything. Ninety percent of devices exposing a specific management interface have reached end of life, meaning they cannot be further patched.

It’s an uphill battle to secure supply chain components. Open source software elements continue to go unchecked and increase the attack surface of critical devices, leading to vulnerabilities that may be hard for organisations to track and mitigate.

“We are raising the alarm today because there remain thousands of OT/IOT devices representing an increased attack surface that requires attention,” advises Elisa Constante, VP of Research, Forescout Research – Vedere Labs. “Vulnerabilities impacting critical infrastructure are like an open window for bad actors in every community. State-sponsored actors are developing custom malware to use routers for persistence and espionage. Cyber criminals are also leveraging routers and related infrastructure for residential proxies and to recruit into botnets. Our discoveries reaffirm the need for heightened awareness of the OT/IOT edge devices that are so often neglected.”

Sierra Wireless and OpenDNS have issued patches for the identified vulnerabilities. TinyXML is an abandoned open source project, so the upstream vulnerabilities will not be fixed and must be addressed downstream.

Obscure Technologies

Obscure Technologies was founded in 2016 by a group of specialist security professionals whose combined IP and experience has been acquired over many years of working for, and with, global IT and security giants. We specialise in bringing world leading security solutions to market. Obscure Technologies operates throughout the African continent.

We remain at the forefront of world and local security technology trends through our strategic partnerships with leading vendors. Moreover, we deliver end to end innovative technology solutions to our partner community.

Further information:

Gauteng Office
T: +27 12 941 2032: E:
Block B, Unit 2, Top Floor, Southdowns Office Park, 21 Karee Street, Irene, Centurion, 0157

Western Cape Office
T: +27 12 941 2032: E:
403 Speakers Corner, 31-37 Parliament Street, Cape town, 8001

Editorial contacts
Marketing, Obscure Technologies Surita Schoeman (+27) 12 941 2032
Blain Communications Deirdre Blain (+27) 83 230 5522

* Article first published on

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