Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) SUBSCRIBE can be abused to send traffic to arbitrary destinations

The Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocol in effect prior to April 17, 2020 can be abused to send traffic to arbitrary destinations using the SUBSCRIBE functionality.


The UPnP protocol, as specified by the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), is designed to provide automatic discovery and interaction with devices on a network. The UPnP protocol is designed to be used in a trusted local area network (LAN) and the protocol does not implement any form of authentication or verification.

Many common Internet-connected devices support UPnP, as noted in previous research from Daniel Garcia (VU#357851) and Rapid7. Garcia presented at DEFCON 2019 and published a scanning and portmapping tool. The UPnP Device Protection service was not widely adopted.

A vulnerability in the UPnP SUBSCRIBE capability permits an attacker to send large amounts of data to arbitrary destinations accessible over the Internet, which could lead to a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), data exfiltration, and other unexpected network behavior. The OCF has updated the UPnP specification to address this issue. This vulnerability has been assigned CVE-2020-12695 and is also known as Call Stranger.

Although offering UPnP services on the Internet is generally considered to be a misconfiguration, a number of devices are still available over the Internet according to a recent Shodan scan.


A remote, unauthenticated attacker may be able to abuse the UPnP SUBSCRIBE capability to send traffic to arbitrary destinations, leading to amplified DDoS attacks and data exfiltration. In general, making UPnP available over the the Internet can pose further security vulnerabilities than the one described in this vulnerability note.


Affected devices

A number of devices have been identified as vulnerable by the security researcher and have been posted at the CallStranger website. There is more information on affected devices in Tenable’s blog on cve-2020-12695.

Jason Davies

UK based technology professional, with an interest in computer security and telecoms.

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