Last week, the private company responsible for enforcing France's "three strikes" copyright law was found to be massively insecure, prompting France to suspend the program. Under France's HADOPI copyright law, households lost their Internet connection if they received three accusations of copyright infringement committed on their network. TMG, the private contractor that maintained the system, suffered a massive breach when hackers showed that they hadn't taken even the most rudimentary steps to secure their servers.
Now, Ars Technica reports that it's not just TMG's security that's flawed — the breach has also revealed that its data-gathering system is as untrustworthy as its perimeter security:
TMG's server was running a custom-written administration program coded in Delphi. It had the unusual security feature of not requiring any authentication at all, allowing anyone connecting to port 8500 to send commands to the server. The commands it supports are limited–shutdown or reboot the computer, stop or start a peer-to-peer client, and update the software on the server–but due to their shoddy design these commands are sufficient to allow hackers to do whatever they want. The update command connects to an FTP server, retrieves a file, and then executes it–all without authentication–and rather than connecting to a specific FTP server, it allows the server to be specified when the update command is given.
This allows an attacker to set up their own FTP server, put their malicious program onto the server, and then tell the TMG system to update from the hacker-controlled server. In this way, they can make the TMG server run whatever software they want. If all of TMG's anti-piracy servers are running the same administrative program, then they are all susceptible to being attacked in this same, trivial way.