Hackers have a wide arsenal of methods to compromise a device, and many of them target the code powering the gadget, rather than the poor security measures enforced by the user. Cyber intruders often use programming weaknesses to control or access the device, or steal information from it.
File inclusion is an example of a programming security oversight that does not check user input in web applications. This can lead to unauthorized files being requested and exposed, or to malicious files being uploaded. Simply put, when calling a resource from an app vulnerable to file inclusion, an attacker can append a request to include information from a different, sensitive location or to add new, malicious files.
We could compare it to someone making a request for public records and telling the clerk “Hey, when you bring my file, include in it the confidential details from document X, too!” However, the clerk checks only the requester’s petition for the public records, not whether he can access secret information. The clerk assumes the request is qualified and adds the details to the public records folder and hands it over.
Alternatively, the requester can ask the clerk to add a new folder in the public record archive: “Hey, I’m here to check some public information, and I also have these files for you to add to the library.” Again, the clerk obeys the request without verifying if the requester has the right to include the new files in the public archive.
Depending on the security measures in place, a file inclusion vulnerability can be exploited in two ways: by relying on local files already available to the web application, which could lead to disclosure of sensitive information; or by uploading files from an external source (remotely), which could let the attacker install malicious software. The risks associated with the remote file inclusion vulnerability range from taking control of the targeted app to taking command of the device.
The user cannot mitigate this type of security flaw. It’s up to code developers to add the necessary protection that filters the requests and denies access to unauthorized data. Users, on the other hand, should apply the latest updates, especially those containing security fixes.
You can however use a software that can help you determine whether your smart network is vulnerable or not, and how. Bitdefender Home Scanner’s purpose is to evaluate the gadgets on a network by indicating known security risks in them. Keeping them protected is a job for Bitdefender Box, the security appliance for home networks that scans the traffic and blocks connections to malicious addresses.