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What are the security implications of using a remote PC shutdown (from Iphone) software? E.g. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/mark-bridges.com/Off.html

My fear is that this opens a port vulnerability. In which case what kind of attacks are possible?

  • I'm not sure about the specific program you linked, but remote control programs don't always have to open a port. Some work by opening and maintaining a connection to a central server, and commands you send are relayed by the server through the always-open connection. Since this technique does not require an open port and only the central server can send it commands, it is more secure (as long as the central server can be trusted) and can work behind NAT firewalls. – tlng05 Jun 1 '15 at 14:01
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One of the things that trouble me is that I failed to find anything related to security in that website, it sounds like a well intentioned hobby project that got exposure.

Yes, it opens a port and exposes a service. Knowing which port it uses is possibly very easy if you download it yourself, it is possible they don't randomise the port in use but even if they did a port scan would discover it fairly quickly. Then its a matter of playing with packets and see what sort of authentication is in place.

The immediate risk that I see is that the computer would shutdown or restart before you want it to happen, it seems however that this is targeted at home users where this wouldn't be much of a problem, even if it can be annoying I don't see a direct relation towards data loss or compromise, partly because it runs on Java and it is a sandboxed environment.

If you are concerned about security and need to use this tool, I would recommend not having the PC connected directly to the internet, you should still be able to use the program from within your home network, and if you want to be completely safe you can disconnect the internet cable from your home router.

The usual home safety recommendations apply, use strong encryption on your connections, if available only allow connections from specific MAC addresses...

  • So the only attack to be expected is a shutdown troll? – Manumit Jun 1 '15 at 13:56
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    I cant say that definitely, but that is my best guess. It also seems like a rather unpopular tool (comparing it to Spotify for example) so the exposure surface is less of an incentive to attackers. In other words, its unlikely that developing an exploit for this tool turns out to be profitable. – Purefan Jun 1 '15 at 14:05
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    That's true, but in other hand the code is a lot less scrutinated, therefore it might be easier to find weaknesses. – nsn Jun 1 '15 at 20:45
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Besides any other possible exploits due to weaknesses in the code or libraries used, either on purpose or negligent, the only risk is that someone else might actually shut down your computer.

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