Network Security, IOT, And HomeDaemon-MCP
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2018-04-17 11:43 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 162 references Ignore this thread
Network Security, IOT, And HomeDaemon-MCP*
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My HomeDaemon-MCP controller has always "attracted" a certain number of "probes", nearly all of which result in a log entry that looks like this:

[10:18] SSL ACCEPT Error [http request] on []

These are connections that are made to the controller and the SSL negotiation fails because the other end doesn't respond at all to it.  That is, it doesn't get back a bad negotiation or attempt to play games with the SSL protocol, it simply gets nothing, a bare HTTP request, or something similar (e.g. someone thinks it might be a Telnet server, for example.)

HomeDaemon-MCP contains its own web server; it does not rely on something like ngnix or Apache.  The reason for this is that the required set of capabilities is well-defined and it's much more-secure to write code that does what you need, along with interdicting attempts to be "bad" (and reporting them) than it is to rely on someone else's brain-fart which, due to the complexity of what it must handle, is inherently much larger and thus has a far larger attack surface.

In the last 48 hours or so the number of "probes" have exploded as apparently Russia and a handful of other locations (the Czech republic, for one) have decided to "ratchet up" attempted assaults on various "Internet of Things" devices.  I'm now seeing these reported not one or two at a time but by the hundreds, back-to-back.  There has also been a marked increase in the number of what appear to be "white hat" surveillance attempts on said devices, including mine, looking for potential vulnerabilities.  The fact that the "bad guys" know I'm here and how to find me isn't surprising in the main.  That the white hat guys are also hammering me is, because the presumption has to be that their primary means of finding me is an exhaustive port-scan on IP address ranges.

Why the "bad guys"?  Because I've been at this sort of stuff long enough, and am well-enough known from my days of running an ISP, that my presumption is that they know who I am and are at least passingly interested in trying to steal things -- like my software.  Maybe I'm wrong and they're just randomly looking too, but I wouldn't take that bet.

This appears to be related, according to the "white hat" folks, to this CERT alert -- and it's a NASTY one.

But HomeDaemon-MCP is laughing all of these attempted assaults off -- both the "white hat" probes and the far more-malicious "black hat" sort.

It's not at all impossible to write IOT code -- HomeDaemon-MCP is one such instance -- that is reasonably secure.

However, it's very hard to cheat and use libraries to do huge amounts of security-sensitive parts of the processing, including the web service part, and actually maintain security because the code isn't yours, even if you attempt to audit it you didn't write it and thus don't have a full understanding of it, and if there is a problem found you're reliant on someone else to fix it.  It gets even worse if you're writing in something like PHP.

That's why HomeDaemon-MCP doesn't do any of that and I took the time and effort to write it on the metal using "C", with the only outside dependency being the OpenSSL libraries.

A reasonably-full description of HomeDaemon-MCP can be found here; it speaks not only Z-Wave with an inexpensive USB "stick" but also can manage independent and fully-internal analog input monitoring using an extremely inexpensive ADC "bolt on" but also GPIO (digital) outputs.  If you have encryption-enabled Z-wave devices it will use AES encryption as well (e.g. door locks.)  It's fast, secure, and runs on extremely inexpensive hardware (the Pi2 and Pi3 computers) with the code itself and its entire working data set for a reasonably-large (~150 events) installation, plus a slave controller, requiring only 10MB of working RAM.  It consumes roughly 10-20% of a Pi2's CPU with it clocked at 600Mhz, or roughly "half-speed" and even with the FreeBSD operating system has nearly 3/4 of the 1Gb of RAM on the unit free.  In other words it's insanely economical in terms of resource consumption, is entirely self-contained in terms of security and it's also extraordinarily fast.

I've recently implemented an "app interface" on top of the standard, HTML-5 browser port that will make streaming-update apps (e.g. for Android) a trivial undertaking, and am starting development of a sample Android app to speak to it (which ought to be fun, since I need to teach myself Android app development in the process!)

Oh, and the license verification code (also certificate based using PKI) is built-in already -- it's literally ready to go, needing only the issuance of certificates to each customer for however long their license terms is.

So where is the firm or firms that want to offer a secure controller of this sort, whether as a packaged product or as an installed system complete with all the mark-up available to same?

If you're that firm email me at and let's talk.

Yes, it's for sale -- in source, all rights, and while it's not cheap the asking price is, for what it is, very reasonable.

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