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Electrifying Exploit: A Case Study on SSRF Vulnerability in an EV Manufacturer's System


Unveiling an SSRF Vulnerability in an EV Manufacturer's System
Unveiling an SSRF Vulnerability in an EV Manufacturer's System

You're cruising down the highway in your sleek, state-of-the-art electric vehicle (EV). The hum of the electric motor is your soundtrack, the open road your cinema. Your dashboard, a symphony of lights and numbers, is a live feed of your vehicle's vitals – battery levels, tire pressure, energy consumption, and more.

Suddenly, your phone buzzes. It's your EV's companion app, alerting you to an unexpected battery drain. Your car's battery level, which was at 80% just a minute ago, has mysteriously dropped to 40%.

You pull over, puzzled and concerned. Little do you know, your EV has just become the latest victim of a Server Side Request Forgery (SSRF) vulnerability in the EV manufacturer's system. Buckle up as we delve into this electrifying tale of technology, vulnerability, and the importance of robust cybersecurity.

Unveiling the Electrifying Threat: Understanding SSRF Vulnerability

Our story begins with an EV manufacturer, let's call them "ElectroAuto", who developed a sophisticated system to monitor and control their vehicles remotely.

This system was a marvel of modern engineering, integrating with a mobile app to provide real-time data on vehicle performance, location, and even the ability to control certain features remotely. However, beneath the shiny veneer of this technological marvel lurked a vulnerability – an SSRF.

An SSRF, for those not in the know, is a type of vulnerability that can be exploited by an attacker to make requests to internal resources that should not be accessible. In ElectroAuto's case, this vulnerability was present in the system's API, which was used by the mobile app to communicate with the vehicles.

What Can Happen?

Well, consider this: an attacker exploiting this SSRF could potentially gain access to sensitive information, manipulate vehicle controls, or even disrupt the entire fleet. The potential for chaos was immense. This vulnerability can be detected during a routine penetration test.

How the EV Manufacturer Tackled the SSRF Vulnerability

The hackers began by probing the API, looking for potential vulnerabilities. They noticed that the API was making requests to an internal service to fetch vehicle data. This was a potential SSRF vulnerability, and they decided to test it.

The payload was a simple GET request, disguised to look like a regular API call:

GET /api/v1/internal?uri=http://localhost:8080/admin HTTP/1.1

Host: vulnerable-website.com

In this example, the uri parameter is the key. The hackers manipulated this parameter to trick the server into making a request to an internal URL (http://localhost:8080/admin), which would normally be inaccessible from the outside.

The Road to Secure Electric Rides: Importance of Cybersecurity

The server, tricked by the forgery, dutifully carried out the request, giving the hackers access to internal resources. They were able to view sensitive information, such as vehicle data and user details, which should have been securely locked away. They were in.

But they didn't stop there. To demonstrate the potential impact of this vulnerability, they sent a command through the API. The vehicle's companion app sent an alert to the owner's phone, leading to the scenario we described at the beginning of this article.

Despite the successful penetration, the problem was far from solved. The SSRF vulnerability was still present, and the potential for a less ethical hacker to exploit it was a ticking time bomb. The hackers reported their findings to ElectroAuto, who were initially skeptical. After all, their system was supposed to be secure. But the evidence was undeniable.

In the end, ElectroAuto took the findings seriously and patched the vulnerability. The fix involved implementing a strict allowlist (White List) of URLs that the server could interact with, and rejecting any requests that did not match this allowlist:

This case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of robust cybersecurity measures in our increasingly connected world.

So, next time you're cruising down the highway in your EV, spare a thought for the unseen cybersecurity warriors working tirelessly to keep your ride safe and secure. Because in the world of cybersecurity, the road is always full of twists and turns.

Remember, the best way to prevent an SSRF or any other vulnerability is to adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity. Regular penetration testing, staying updated with the latest threats, and fostering a culture of security within your organization are just a few ways to stay one step ahead of the hackers.

Drive safe and stay secure.

At Komodo Consulting, we are a team of experienced ethical hackers who can provide professional and reliable penetration testing services for any size business. We can help you secure your web applications, protect your data, your reputation and your revenue.


Understanding and addressing SSRF Vulnerabilities in EV Systems
Understanding and addressing SSRF Vulnerabilities in EV Systems

FAQs: SSRF Vulnerability in EVs

1. What is an SSRF vulnerability in an EV system?

SSRF vulnerability in an EV system refers to a security weakness that allows attackers to manipulate the system's API, making unauthorized requests to internal resources. This poses risks to sensitive data and control of the electric vehicle.

2. How can an SSRF attack affect my electric vehicle?

An SSRF attack on your EV can lead to unauthorized access to critical vehicle data, enabling attackers to control functions remotely or potentially disrupt its operations, compromising your safety and privacy.

3. How did hackers exploit the SSRF vulnerability in the EV system?

Hackers manipulated the EV Manufacturer’s API to send deceptive requests to internal URLs, tricking the system into granting unauthorized access to sensitive information and vehicle controls.

4. How did the EV Manufacturer address the SSRF vulnerability?

The EV Manufacturer proactively addressed the SSRF vulnerability by implementing a robust allowlist (White List) of approved URLs, effectively blocking unauthorized requests and enhancing the system's security.

5. Why is cybersecurity important for EVs?

Cybersecurity is paramount for EVs as they increasingly rely on interconnected technologies. Partnering with reputable cybersecurity firms like Komodo Consulting ensures robust protection against vulnerabilities, safeguarding your EV's integrity and your peace of mind.

More to read in Komodo Consulting Blog


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