The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against “D-Link Corporation and its U.S. subsidiary, alleging that inadequate security measures taken by the company left its wireless routers and Internet cameras vulnerable to hackers and put U.S. consumers’ privacy at risk.” The Complaint filed on January 5, 2017 in the US District Court in the Northern District of California includes these allegations against D-Link:

  • “hard-coded” login credentials integrated into D-Link camera software — such as the username “guest” and the password “guest” — that could allow unauthorized access to the cameras’ live feed;
  • a software flaw known as “command injection” that could enable remote attackers to take control of consumers’ routers by sending them unauthorized commands over the Internet;
  • the mishandling of a private key code used to sign into D-Link software, such that it was openly available on a public website for six months; and
  • leaving users’ login credentials for D-Link’s mobile app unsecured in clear, readable text on their mobile devices, even though there is free software available to secure the information.

The FTC press release entitled “FTC Charges D-Link Put Consumers’ Privacy at Risk Due to the Inadequate Security of Its Computer Routers and Cameras” included these comments from Jessica Rich (Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection):

Hackers are increasingly targeting consumer routers and IP cameras — and the consequences for consumers can include device compromise and exposure of their sensitive personal information,…

When manufacturers tell consumers that their equipment is secure, it’s critical that they take the necessary steps to make sure that’s true.

This lawsuit was the FTC’s stern message to other IoT manufacturers, and surely we will see more such lawsuits!