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Re: Router
From: Todd Haverkos <infosec () haverkos com>
Date: Mon, 21 Mar 2011 16:13:33 -0500

northsidepct () gmail com writes:

Good day everyone,

What kind of operating systems do proprietary routers run on such as
the dlink 321 or the cisco wrt series. Is there a way to detect this
from the device itself?

It varies.  While some are variants of Linux, many are now running
VXWorks, which is a tighter (from a memory footprint standpoint) OS
that allows them to build units with less flash memory, and one could
assume lower cost.  

You can learn an awful lot about this sort of thing by taking a few
off the shelf routers and getting the open source third party firmware
from dd-wrt running on them, and learn about the chipset variations,
flash memory variations, and by extension, what the OEM OS looks like
on each: 

The dd-wrt router database had a ton of info on the differences among
routers, though I don't believe their OEM OS is among what they

The WRT54G for instance, is an interesting study.  In early hardware
revisions, the device had ample flash to run DD-WRT, and ran a *nix
based OS from Linksys, I believe.  Later hardware revisions (5.0 and
up?) cut the flash memory significantly, and moved to VXWorks.   This
gave rise to people longing for the original WRT54G, and thus the
WRT54GL was (re) born.  The L being a nod to Linux.  

Finally, I have a few neurons reminding me there was some open source
security project that was looking to build a database on these sorts
of devices that I heard about at some Chicago security conference.
I'm afraid I can't remember the name though.  I beleive they were
doing some fingerprinting work like this, though.

Best of luck! 

Todd Haverkos, LPT MsCompE

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