Bottom Line: The Kankun IoT outlet is cheap and popular, but it seems to ping home to China – here’s how to stop that.
The little Kankun smart plugs were a big hit a couple of years ago – cheap (~$20), Wi-Fi enabled, and hackable. I bout a couple when I could find then on AliExpress, but the US version was often out of stock. As of time of writing, I actually am not finding them available at AliExpress (or Amazon either), so I hope they’re not gone for good.
The Kankun switches have SSH open, with
root access available using the
p9z34c by default. There are lots of posts and projects about things
you can tweak with this switch once you establish access – my favorite is
https://github.com/homedash/kankun-json, which provides both a nice user
interface as well as JSON API for interacting with the switch.
The switch also comes with an iOS app that can be used to set up WiFi and control the switch. Interestingly, I decided to snoop around with Wireshark and found that the switch seemed to be calling home to China (188.8.131.52). I didn’t feel really great about that, especially since it now had my home WiFi password, and I wasn’t doing anything in particular to interact with the switch when these packets were getting sent.
Looking at the UDP packet content, I see:
Fortunately, some hackers much smarter than I have already reverse engineered
the AES key
required to decode this UDP packet:
you have SSH access, you can confirm that this key shows up in
strings sbin/kkeps_off | grep
With some help from StackOverflow, I hacked together the following Python script to use the AES key to decrypt the UDP output so I could get an idea of what info was getting sent back and forth to China.
import sys import binascii from cryptography.hazmat.primitives.ciphers import Cipher, algorithms, modes from cryptography.hazmat.backends import default_backend def decrypt(encrypted_hex): enc_bytes = binascii.unhexlify(encrypted_hex) key = 'fdsl;mewrjope456fds4fbvfnjwaugfo'.encode() decryptor = Cipher(algorithm=algorithms.AES(key), mode=modes.ECB(), backend=default_backend()).decryptor() decrypted = decryptor.update(enc_bytes) + decryptor.finalize() return decrypted def clean_output(raw): br = b'\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00\x00' return [segment.decode() for segment in raw.replace(br, b'%%').split(b'%')] if __name__ == "__main__": print() for line in clean_output(decrypt(sys.argv)): print(line)
Using the output acquired from Wireshark:
$ python3 decrypt.py fc0f28cf5edc72e3afe5e523f9974f2299a6e356fd9d96c21d57f6f9864636d39e2367fe5f16aa7b33df5d7a147329627b80696dbf781669f28426bf552dad32 wan_device 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword close heart
Decrypting a number of the incoming UDP packets from China showed nothing of particular interest:
wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:02:21 hack wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:02:21 hack wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:02:21 hack wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:02:51 hack wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:03:21 hack wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:04:21 hack wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:04:21 hack wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:04:51 hack wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:05:21 hack wan_server 00:15:61:bd:4b:c9 nopassword 2016-08-13-06:05:51 hack
Regardless, I didn’t like the idea of this IoT device communicating with outside servers, especially since my only use for it would be local control under HomeAssistant; it has no reason to access anything outside of my local network.
So in order to secure it, I started looking into whether or not I could configure some kind of firewall to block communication with devices outside my local network. It ended up not being too difficult to do.
It ends up the Kankun switch’s little distro has iptables built in. You can
read about the configuration file for the
firewall which is found at
/etc/config/firewall , but the key line is:
# include a file with users custom iptables rules config include option path /etc/firewall.user
So what I did was to SCP a file to
/etc/firewall.user with the following
# This file is interpreted as shell script. # Put your custom iptables rules here, they will # be executed with each firewall (re-)start. # Internal uci firewall chains are flushed and recreated on reload, so # put custom rules into the root chains e.g. INPUT or FORWARD or into the # special user chains, e.g. input_wan_rule or postrouting_lan_rule. # Get rid of all existing rules iptables --flush iptables --delete-chain # Default to `DROP` for all iptables --policy INPUT DROP iptables --policy FORWARD DROP iptables --policy OUTPUT DROP # Allow in and out on loopback iptables --append INPUT --in-interface lo --jump ACCEPT iptables --append OUTPUT --out-interface lo --jump ACCEPT # Allow new and existing incoming SSH from local network iptables --append INPUT --protocol tcp --destination-port 22 --source 192.168.0.0/24 --match state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED --jump ACCEPT # Allow existing outgoing SSH from local network iptables --append OUTPUT --protocol tcp --source-port 22 --destination 192.168.0.0/24 --match state --state ESTABLISHED --jump ACCEPT # Allow tcp from local network to port 80 (for web requests with https://github.com/homedash/kankun-json) iptables --append INPUT --protocol tcp --destination-port 80 --source 192.168.0.0/24 --match state --state NEW,ESTABLISHED --jump ACCEPT iptables --append OUTPUT --protocol tcp --source-port 80 --destination 192.168.0.0/24 --match state --state ESTABLISHED --jump ACCEPT
This setup basically allows local SSH connections as well as port 80 for the JSON API I referenced earlier. I have mine set up with a static IP address, so it seems to work fairly well with this setup, but people relying on DHCP would likely also need to open ports 67 and 68 to UDP traffic, though I’m not sure about that.
Once I had set up this firewall, I can confirm with Wireshark that I no longer see the communication to or from China, that I can still SSH into the device, and that the JSON API I installed from the project above still works.
Hope you find this interesting and useful and that your home’s IoT is a little more secure as a result. I don’t pretend to be a security expert or to have much experience with iptables, so if you have any feedback, suggestions, or other comments about the post, please let me know in the comments section below.