FreeRTOS IoT OS Critical Vulnerabilities Affected Million of Smart Home & Critical Infrastructure Based IoT Devices

Haythem Elmir

A critical Vulnerabilities that affected FreeRTOS TCP/IP Stack puts millions of IoT devices at risk and let attackers allows to compromise the Smart home devices and Critical Infrastructure Systems.

FreeRTOS is a  real-time operating system kernel for embedded devices that support various architectures such as  Altera Nios II, ARM architecture, Fujitsu, Microchip Technology, STMicroelectronics etc.

Vulnerabilities affected multiple Versions of operating systems including, FreeRTOS up to V10.0.1 (with FreeRTOS+TCP), AWS FreeRTOS up to V1.3.1, WHIS OpenRTOS and SafeRTOS (With WHIS Connect middleware TCP/IP components).

FreeRTOS and SafeRTOS have been used in a wide variety of industries: IoT, Aerospace, Medical, Automotive, and more.

Researchers addressed 13 Vulnerabilities that includes 4 Critical remote code execution vulnerabilities, 1 Denial of service flaw, 7 Information leak flaw, and 1 other category.

CVE Description
CVE-2018-16522 Remote code execution
CVE-2018-16525 Remote code execution
CVE-2018-16526 Remote code execution
CVE-2018-16528 Remote code execution
CVE-2018-16523 Denial of service
CVE-2018-16524 Information Leak
CVE-2018-16527 Information Leak
CVE-2018-16599 Information Leak
CVE-2018-16600 Information Leak
CVE-2018-16601 Information Leak
CVE-2018-16602 Information Leak
CVE-2018-16603 Information Leak
CVE-2018-16598 Other


Above vulnerabilities allows an attacker to crash the device, leak information from the device’s memory, and remotely execute code on it, thus completely compromising it.

FreeRTOS was developed by Real Time Engineers Ltd but In November 2017, Amazon Web Services (AWS) took stewardship for the FreeRTOS kernel and its components.

In this case “AWS FreeRTOS focused to provide a fully enabled IoT platform for microcontrollers, by bundling the FreeRTOS kernel together with the FreeRTOS TCP/IP stack, modules for secure connectivity, over the air updates, code signing, AWS cloud support, and more.”

zLabs researchers found these vulnerabilities within FreeRTOS’s TCP/IP stack and in the AWS secure connectivity modules. The same vulnerabilities are present in WHIS Connect TCP/IP component for OpenRTOS\SafeRTOS.

Also zimperium team reported the vulnerabilities and collaborate with Amazon and release the patch for all the above vulnerabilities.
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