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Security Issue Found In Multiple Devices Is Called ‘Urgent 11’

By August 14, 2019May 16th, 2022Cybersecurity

Let’s take a little time to talk about the vast numbers of smart devices in use around the world. You probably have several in your home or office. Smart devices need operating systems, just like your phone and your PC. Of course, mobile device operating systems must be much smaller and more compact. After all, they don’t really need to do a lot of computing, and they don’t need a GUI, so the code tends to be on the lean side.

The odds are excellent that you’ve never even heard of most of the IoT’s operating systems, nor the companies that make them. Take VxWorks by a company called Wind River, for example.  It’s the most popular Real Time Operating System (RTOS), used in a wide range of smart devices today.  They don’t get a lot of attention or oversight because almost nobody has heard of them.

That’s beginning to change, however.  Recently, security researchers disclosed the details of the “Urgent 11”, which are 11 vulnerabilities found in VxWorks that can be used by hackers to take control of a variety of devices. These devices range from medical systems to printers, industrial equipment, routers, and more.

The company has been in existence for 32 years. Yet, in that time, only 13 security flaws with a MITRE-assigned CVE have been found in the VxWorks RTOS, because again, nobody’s paying attention.

The good news is that when someone finally started paying attention, Wind River responded quickly and resolved all eleven of the security flaws, issuing a patch to correct them.  There’s just one rather significant catch, however.

The company is claiming that the vulnerabilities are not unique to Wind River software and that the IPnet stack (where the vulnerabilities were found) was acquired by the company back in 2006.  Prior to Wind River’s acquisition of it, it was deployed in a wide range of other RTOS’.

All that to say, while Wind River is acting responsibly, there are an unknown number of other RTOS’ out there that are vulnerable. The companies behind them may be doing little or nothing about it.  In many ways, the OS ecosystem of the IoT is still very much a black box, and that’s troublesome.

Jason Manteiga

Jason J. Manteiga, Vice President of Olmec Systems, has been part of the company for over the past 20 years. He believes that having a great work environment and supportive team, is the ultimate key to success. Since being in the IT realm for over 25 years, Jason, along with Olmec Systems, has been on the Inc. 5000 “List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies” and Channel Futures MSP 501 “Top Managed Service Providers in North America,” along with other awards and nominations. Jason earned his Bachelor Degree in Information Systems from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He also holds certifications in Microsoft MCSE, VMWare VCP, and Cisco CCNA. In his spare time, Jason is a contributor for The Center for Social & Legal Research (Privacy Exchange) and a member of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce. His hobbies include cycling and kayaking. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife, two daughters and son.