You must have heard about UPnP or Universal Plug and Play. If your computer, tablet, or phone has automatically recognized your new printer, then you have already lived with UPnP. Even devices like Alexa are using UPnP for connecting with your devices.
You can pair UPnP with the latest IoT devices. The main aim of UPnP is to simplify the communication between devices. It ensures that different devices can easily communicate with each other. However, data breaches are rising with time. In this article, we are going to talk about UPnP and how it works.
How does it work?
Universal Plug and Play is probably the simplest thing for customers. You can directly connect your new devices with your network. Your new device can instantly communicate with other devices present in the network. However, we are going to break down the process. This will help you in understanding how UPnP actually works.
- A new device will first join your network.
- It will get an IP address.
- Will get a specific name.
- It will communicate with other devices present in the network.
The IP address step is actually not required for some devices. Most IoT devices like smart light bulbs actually communicate by using radiofrequency.
Why UPnP is considered insecure?
Many companies think that UPnP is insecure. This protocol can directly open ports in your firewall. Thus, an external device can access a server that is hosted on your local machine. The firewall was protecting your server from outside devices.
UPnP can make all your firewalls useless. For example, Trojans can easily set up an IRC server in your network. Also, they can set up a RAT server in your network which will help attackers in controlling your system. This is not an ideal situation for companies.
Security Risks associated with UPnP:
There are various security risks associated with the Universal Plug and play protocol. In 2001, the FBI advised all the users to disable UPnP in their windows machine. Attackers were exploiting buffer overflow vulnerability in the Windows machine by using the UPnP protocol. Many people still think that UPnP is dangerous.
However, this issue was actually related to the windows. This bug was fixed by Microsoft by releasing a security patch.
Badly implemented UPnP
Most of the problems related to UPnP occur due to poor implementation. Routers manufacturers can sometimes forget about securing their implementations. Malicious applications can exploit these routers for entering your network.
Many malware can use UPnP
Malware can use UPnP for bypassing various security software and protocols. UPnP will think that the program is legit and it will allow the program to forward ports. If you are worried about this point, then you should disable UPnP. There is no way to fix this problem in UPnP.
Flash UPnP attack
There are also Flash UPnP attacks that can attack your systems. If you are using a website that is running Flash applet, then that applet can forward ports by sending a request. However, you can stop the attack by using a good firewall. A firewall will ensure that attackers can’t exploit vulnerabilities in your network.
However, sometimes this Flash applet can cause a lot of damage. They might change the DNS server of your router due to which all the traffic will get redirected to a fake website.
Should you disable Universal Play and Plug (UPnP) feature?
UPnP is very convenient as you can quickly connect your devices with your network. However, there are serious security flaws associated with UPnP. You can’t mitigate some of these flaws by even using security solutions. If you are not using the port forwarding feature, then you don’t need to use the UPnP. Similarly, if you are only using the port forwarding feature occasionally, then you can use a different solution.
However, heavy port forwarding users need to make their decisions. It is very difficult to hack a network by using UPnP security flaws. But, there is still a possibility that your network can get hacked due to UPnP security flaws.
Are the security concerns legit?
Most security professionals recommend companies to disable UPnP for their routers. You need to worry about the implementation issues. Due to this, hackers can even use the internet to open ports in your network. However, router manufacturers have patched multiple vulnerabilities in routers. Thus, routers have become more secure with time.
UPnP is not dangerous for your business if you have updated it. Thus, you should ensure that all your routers are up to date. Also, make sure that all your connected devices are secure. UPnP will only become an issue if the connected device is already compromised. This connected device can spread the malware in different devices. However, these malwares can spread without using UPnP. If attackers have already access to one of your devices, then they can easily get access to other devices.
If you want peace of mind, then you should directly disable UPnP. However, attackers don’t actually need UPnP for attacking your network. Cyberattacks are becoming more common with time. Most IT teams don’t want to admit defeat. However, it is almost impossible to stop a data breach. Attackers can always find a way to navigate through your security defenses. Thus, you should focus on strengthening your security defenses.
Many people are still worried about the security risks associated with UPnP. However, it is very difficult to use UPnP for attacking your network. Attackers mostly don’t need UPnP for attacking your network. You should use better security measures for protecting your data. If you don’t have access to an IT security team, then you should consider working with an MSP. Experienced MSPs like Bleuwire can help you in creating an IT security strategy. They will implement the best security solutions that will help you in protecting your data. Thus, don’t need to worry about disabling UPnP. If you need more IT security tips, then you can contact Bleuwire.