Personal weather stations can expose your Wi-Fi network

Netatmo weather stations upload Wi-Fi passwords and SSIDs to the company's servers over insecure connections

In the latest Internet of Things security blunder, personal weather station devices made by Netatmo were found sending users' Wi-Fi passwords back to the company over unencrypted connections.

Netatmo weather stations can be used to monitor indoor and outdoor temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels and overall air quality. Users can see the data collected by their stations in real-time through an app installed on their phones, tablets or computers.

The public weather map on Netatmo's website shows that thousands of such devices are installed around the world.

When the weather stations are first configured, users need to give them access to their Wi-Fi networks, so they can transmit sensor readings to the Netatmo cloud over the Internet.

The problem is that the devices also send the wireless network identifier (SSID) and the password to the company's servers and do so over an unencrypted connection, said Johannes Ullrich, CTO of the SANS Internet Storm Center, in a blog post Thursday.

Ullrich discovered the issue after monitoring data traffic from his own Netatmo weather station.

"Not only should data like this not be transmitted 'in the clear,' but in addition, there is no need for Netatmo to know the WPA password for my network," Ullrich said.

Ullrich said that he reported the problem to the company, which blamed the behavior on a debugging feature that collects the contents of the device's memory on first run.

According to Ullrich, the company expressed its intention to remove this feature "very soon" and this week it released a firmware update that appears to fix the issue. In an update to his blog post on Friday he said he is still trying to verify if that is the case.

Netatmo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This issue adds to a growing list of basic security lapses discovered in smart home devices and other Internet-connected appliances that have invaded the consumer electronics market in the last few years.

Security experts have repeatedly expressed their concern that device manufacturers pay little attention to basic security principles in their rush to put Internet connectivity into everything.

The security mess has given birth to Internet of Things security advisory groups like BuildItSecure.ly and I Am the Cavalry.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyintrusionSANS InstituteAccess control and authenticationNetatmo

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Lucian Constantin

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?