[Chet] bought an electricity monitor from OWL, specifically because it was open and easy to hack on at him within the confines of his home network. Yay! Unfortunately, it also appears to be easy to
hack read outside of his home network too, due to what appears to be extraordinarily sloppy security practices.
The short version of the security vulnerability is that the OWL energy monitors seem to be sending out their data to servers at OWL, and this data is then accessible over plain HTTP (not HTTPS) and with the following API:
http://beta.owlintuition.com/api/electricity/history_overview.php?user=&nowl=&clientdate=. Not so bad, right? They are requiring username and password, plus the ID number of the device. Maybe someone could intercept your request and read your meter remotely, because it’s not encrypting the transaction?
Nope. Much worse. [Chet] discovered that the username and password fields appear not to be checked, and the ID number is the device’s MAC address which makes is very easy to guess at other device IDs. [Chet] tried 256 MACs out, and got 122 responses with valid data. Oh my!
Take this as a friendly reminder and a cautionary tale. If you’re running any IoT devices, it’s probably worth listening to what they’re saying and noting to whom they’re saying it, because every time you send your data off to “the cloud” you’re trusting someone else to have done their homework. It is not a given that they will have.