Posts Tagged ‘SCADA’
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 @ 01:08 PM gHale
The National Institute of Standards and Technology wants to create a test bed to examine industrial control systems for cyber security vulnerabilities.
Industrial control systems (ICS) or SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems operate critical infrastructure, such as dams, gas plants, petroleum refineries and chemical manufacturing plants.
Hackers can potentially wreak havoc with assaults on such systems. In late June, for example, a targeted malware attack on SCADA systems called Havex ended up discovered by the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that could have allowed intruders to take over Internet-connected systems.
NIST is trying to get ahead of attackers by developing a simulation system that emulates the operations of specific industrial situations.
The simulation rack will provide NIST’s researchers the opportunity to probe systems for flaws and examine the efficacy of certain network security approaches, including deep packet inspection of network traffic, encryption, user authentication, and security software like anti-virus protection.
In a request for information , NIST is soliciting feedback from vendors interested in designing and building simulation racks of SCADA systems for testing purposes.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 @ 05:06 PM gHale
By Gregory Hale
You are under attack and you don’t even know it.
That was the subject of a demonstration and talk Tuesday entitled “ICS Security Today Awareness and Practice” at the 2014 Siemens Automation Summit.
“We are trying to protect people, production, property, environment and the economy,” said Marc Ayala, senior technical advisor at security provider Cimation. He talked about how many people that are qualified and actually know something about enterprise security and the number he came up with was 50,000 true experts. When it comes to Industrial Control System (ICS) or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) security, Ayala said there were “500 people that know ICS security.”
The industries most likely targeted, Ayala said, were energy and transportation.
One of the first things a user needs to accomplish is to evaluate risk, said Eric Forner, ICS/SCADA security engineer at Cimation.
Threats are coming from hackers that could be conducting automated attacks, or from nation states that develop exploits and know how control systems work, Forner said. A third area is from internal attacks, “which is more of a threat than the other two.”
Another area that is a big attack area and has the potential to get bigger is social media attacks, Ayala said.
All you have to do is send a person a malicious email with an attachment from a person they may be familiar with and that person now becomes a victim.
“That is the pivot point where an attacker can then go in and start viewing the system,” Ayala said. “You have to be very careful with who you connect with.”
Keeping bad guys out of the system is vital as the demonstration by Forner proved.
In the demo, Forner was able to bypass a firewall and jump right into a system and take it over.
Most firewalls are usually in place because a standard has told people to put them in, but they end up having an “allow anything command,” Forner said.
That ends up being important as Forner was able to use various commands to work his way through a PLC without too much of a problem.
But the way in to any system is through IP addresses found on the Internet, the researchers said.
One of the problems, Forner said, was the industry’s reliance on incredibly old Modbus/TCP protocol.
Port 502 is the Modbus TCP port and it is one of the top ports under attack,” Ayala said.
In the demo, there was a level transmitter that would shut the system down when the fluid reached a certain level, but when they issued a few commands to get into the system, they essentially owned the process.
When that happened all indicators showed the operator the tank was not at an overflow level and is actually decreasing, but in reality the tank ended up overflowing. They were able to override the safety interlock and take down the process.
As an extra added bonus, after overflowing the tank, the researchers then took command of the HMI in the system and downloaded a game of solitaire.
Yes, this was a demo at a conference, but that could be a real life experience that could cause an incident.
“Cyber security in ICS/SCADA is a life safety issue and must be treated as such,” Ayala said. “Safety is everywhere and it is constant. With all our total interconnections, safety is all the time now.”
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 @ 07:06 PM gHale
By Gregory Hale
There are heavy challenges facing automation professionals in the years to come and cyber security ranks up there at the top.
“There are issues like skills availability, working in remote locations and cyber security,” said Vimal Kapur, the brand new president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) during his keynote address Tuesday at the 2014 Honeywell Users Group in San Antonio, TX. “We can’t ignore (cyber security). It is an undesired event and we have to do something about it.”
Kapur, just named president of HPS in May, talked about trends and outlooks he sees in the industry. While newly named as president, Kapur has been with Honeywell for 25 years so he is very aware of industry nuances and trends.
One of the areas he wants to focus on collaborating to ensure global coverage as the world markets emerge from long standing recessions.
“China and the Americas continue to lead in capital spending, but Europe, Middle East and Asia (EMEA) and Asia Pacific are recovering,” he said.
Closer to home in North America, Kapur said natural gas is continuing its growth curve.
“The Americas oil and gas industries continue to dominate capital spending in the region, especially as they migrate to new natural gas sources,” said Kapur. “These changes have been having a profound impact for the past two or three years, and this trend is going to continue for several more years.”
He also pointed out how Honeywell will be able to leverage its capabilities in upstream oil and gas, midstream and downstream with new SCADA, RTU, DCS, safety, advanced and field instrumentation solutions.
Also understanding and designing the systems properly from the beginning is more vital now than it ever has been.
“Large capital expenditure projects are growing more complex, expensive and time-consuming. So instead of us coming in and adding automation and control at the end of a project before start-up, it’s becoming critical for us to execute automation and get it out of the critical path of these projects,” Kapur said.
Planning the project is one thing, but the next step is applying operational integrity and operational excellence.
“Being able to accomplish operational integrity means operating safely. Operational excellence means running a process more efficiently,” he said. “That all includes making people and assets safer, and running processes more reliably.”
One other trend Kapur discussed was cloud computing.
“Cloud computing in automation has huge potential,” Kapur said. “That is something that is happening now; not something that will happen in the future.”
Another trend is universality, Kapur said. By that he said there would be one universal device that handles multiple capabilities. A case in point is a smartphone that can handle computing, video, phone and general communications capabilities.
In the past one device could handle one function, but why not have one device that handles multiple functions.
He then translated that to the Honeywell environment where, in one case, he pointed to Universal IO which transformed from a single device to one that can handle multiple tasks.
Universal I/O and cloud computing capabilities form the core of the company’s Lean Execution of Automation Projects (LEAP) program for taking automation out of the critical path on customers’ projects.
The goal behind LEAP is to cut engineering time
- No repeat engineering
- Drives efficiency
- Lean execution
- Standardized processes and tools
Monday, April 28, 2014 @ 10:04 AM gHale
There is a directory traversal vulnerability affecting the InduSoft Web Studio application, according to a report on ICS-CERT.
Successful exploitation of this remotely exploitable vulnerability could allow remote execution of arbitrary code. This vulnerability ended up reported by the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) who received the initial dispatch from security researcher John Leitch.
Web Studio Version 7.1 suffers from the issue.
Successful exploitation of the reported vulnerability could allow an attacker to read files outside the web root and possibly perform arbitrary code execution. These actions can result in adverse application conditions and ultimately impact the production environment on which the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system works.
InduSoft Web Studio is a collection of automation tools to develop human-machine interfaces, SCADA systems, and embedded instrumentation systems.
InduSoft Web Studio often ends up integrated as a third-party component in other vendors’ products. According to Austin, TX-based InduSoft, Web Studio sees uses across several sectors including commercial facilities, critical manufacturing, energy, food and agriculture, healthcare and public health, and water and wastewater systems.
The NTWebServer (test web server installed with InduSoft Web Studio) contains a flaw that enables a malicious user to read files outside the web root. This can end up exploited to read APP files that may contain application passwords. It may be possible to achieve remote code execution by exfiltrating credentials for Web Studio itself, then using them to remotely administer the targeted instance to deploy attacker controlled server-side code.
CVE-2014-0780 is the case number assigned to this vulnerability, which has a CVSS v2 base score of 7.5.
No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability. However, an attacker with a low skill would be able to exploit this vulnerability.
InduSoft did not intend for this web server to see action in real applications. It was a demonstration/training software (as stated in user manuals). They have created a mitigation for this vulnerability in InduSoft Web Studio v7.1+Service Pack 2+ Patch 4. Users may obtain this patch at the following location (you must log into your InduSoft account).
For more information, you can email InduSoft technical support.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 @ 01:03 PM gHale
“Attacks on control systems are on the rise.” But “budgets for cyber security in SCADA ICS environments remain very slim, and organizations continue to be dependent on limited resources and staffing to detect breaches and attacks,” said Matt Luallen, SANS Institute Analyst and author of a control system survey.
SANS released results of its 2014 Survey on control system security, in which 268 IT professionals answered questions about their overall risk awareness, trends in threats and breaches, and effective means to mitigate vulnerabilities with regard to supervisory control and data acquisition/industrial control system (SCADA/ICS).
In the year since SANS’ last survey on this topic, the number of entities with identified or suspected security breaches increased from 28 percent to almost 40 percent. Only 9 percent said they were sure they did not suffer a breach.
Organizations want to be able to protect their systems and assets, which include computer systems, networks, embedded controllers, control system communication protocols and various physical assets. Respondents also noted they strive to protect public safety; increase leadership risk awareness; and expand controls pertaining to asset identification, communication channels and centralized monitoring.
Still, quite a few organizations do not or cannot collect data from some of the most critical SCADA and ICS assets, and many depend on trained staff, not tools, to detect issues. The survey also found 16 percent of respondents have no process in place to detect vulnerabilities.
The survey did note a tighter merging of ICS security and IT security, which was once a huge barrier to overcome.
“Respondents indicated that ICS security is being performed by specialists reporting to both engineering and IT,” said Derek Harp, business operations lead for ICS programs at SANS. “This places a real priority on cross-departmental coordination, effectively bridging competencies and building (as well as assessing) skill in an organized manner.”
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 @ 03:01 PM gHale
Schneider Electric created a new version of its SCADA Expert ClearSCADA software that mitigates an uncontrolled resource consumption vulnerability, according to a report on ICS-CERT.
Adam Crain of Automatak, who discovered the problem along with independent researcher Chris Sistrunk, tested the new version to validate it resolves the remotely exploitable vulnerability.
The following Schneider Electric versions suffer from the issue:
• ClearSCADA 2010 R2 (Build 71.4165)
• ClearSCADA 2010 R2.1 (Build 71.4325)
• ClearSCADA 2010 R3 (Build 72.4560)
• ClearSCADA 2010 R3.1 (Build 72.4644)
• SCADA Expert ClearSCADA 2013 R1 (Build 73.4729)
• SCADA Expert ClearSCADA 2013 R1.1 (Build 73.4832)
• SCADA Expert ClearSCADA 2013 R1.1a (Build 73.4903)
• SCADA Expert ClearSCADA 2013 R1.2 (Build 73.4955)
Successful exploitation of this vulnerability may cause a denial of service (DoS) of the DNP3 process. Specially crafted, unsolicited frames may cause excessive event logging. This condition may slow driver operation and may lead to a DoS.
Schneider Electric is a France-based company that maintains offices in 190 countries worldwide.
ClearSCADA sees use across several sectors including energy and water and wastewater systems, according to Schneider Electric.
Specially crafted IP frames may cause DNP3Driver.exe to hang. If the DNP3 driver ends up flooded with frames containing multiple errors, an excessive number of event journal messages could end up logged, resulting in a starvation of resources, leading to a DoS attack. This condition cannot cause data corruption, crash the driver, or allow execution of arbitrary code but will affect operational response.
CVE-2013-6142 is the case number assigned to this vulnerability, which has a CVSS v2 base score of 4.3.
No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability. An attacker with a medium skill would be able to exploit this vulnerability.
Schneider Electric has fixed this issue in the latest released software version of SCADA Expert ClearSCADA 2013 R2.
ClearSCADA users should contact the local Schneider Electric office to obtain the latest software version for ClearSCADA; alternatively this new version is available for direct download from the Schneider Electric Web site. To upgrade, customers must complete and submit an online form.
Click here for general instructions on how to upgrade the ClearSCADA license.
Detailed instructions on how to upgrade a ClearSCADA installation are available.
Schneider Electric advises all ClearSCADA users to take steps to secure the interfaces to the ClearSCADA system. The following guidelines are a starting point only in establishing an appropriate level of system security:
• Monitor DNP3 traffic and system Event Journal to detect excessive amounts of traffic/logging that may be representative of a fuzzing attack.
• Upgrade the ClearSCADA server to SCADA Expert ClearSCADA 2013 R2 or newer, or Service Packs released later than November 2013.
Schneider Electric has also published security notification SEVD-2013-339-01.
The researchers suggest blocking DNP3 traffic from traversing onto business or corporate networks through the use of an intrusion prevention system or firewall with DNP3-specific rule sets to add an additional layer of protection.
Thursday, January 9, 2014 @ 03:01 PM gHale
Ecava Sdn Bhd created an update that mitigates the project directory information disclosure vulnerability in the IntegraXor application, according to a report from ICS-CERT.
Ecava Sdn Bhd IntegraXor – 4.1.4360 and earlier suffer from the remotely exploitable vulnerability. ICS-CERT received the report from the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) who got the details from security researcher “Alphazorx aka technically.screwed.”
An attacker can use a crafted URL to download certain files in the project directory, compromising the confidentiality of the system.
Ecava Sdn Bhd is a Malaysia-based software development company that provides the IntegraXor SCADA product. Ecava Sdn Bhd specializes in factory and process automation solutions.
The affected product, IntegraXor, is a suite of tools used to create and run a Web-based human machine interface (HMI) for a SCADA system. IntegraXor is in several areas of process control in 38 countries with the largest installation based in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Poland, Canada, and Estonia.
IntegraXor does not properly restrict access to files in the project directory. An attacker may use a specially crafted URL to download project backup files from the system project directory without any authentication.
CVE-2014-0752 is the case number assigned to the vulnerability, which has a CVSS v2 base score of 7.5.
No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability, however, an attacker with a low skill would be able to exploit this vulnerability.
Ecava Sdn Bhd issued a notification that details this vulnerability and provides mitigations to its customers. Ecava Sdn Bhd recommends users download and install the update, IntegraXor SCADA Server 4.1.4369.
For additional information, click here to view Ecava’s vulnerability note.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @ 10:11 AM gHale
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from the Practical SCADA Security blog at Tofino Security.
By Eric Byres
Previously, we discussed how new vulnerabilities discovered in DNP3 SCADA masters are carving big holes in the NERC’s concept of the Electronic Security Perimeter (ESP).
Dale Peterson started the ball rolling in his blog “Why the Crain/Sistrunk Vulnerabilities are a Big Deal”. Then Darren Highfill posted a blog explaining the vulnerabilities don’t even require the attacker climb a fence. DNP3 serial links connect millions of physically insecure pad and pole-mounted devices. Accessing just one of those devices opens the door to a system wide attack. Since there is no way that every one of these devices can be inside the perimeter, the concept of NERC’s ESP is fatally flawed.
Darren is a great asset to the industry, as demonstrated by the careful analysis he has put into how an attacker might find a way in to a system via a remote pole or pad mounted device. But as I hinted last week, I think that Darren makes a technical error in his blog.
DNP3 Vulnerabilities: Intruder Just Walk In
Time to Fix SCADA Security
SCADA, ICS Security: Face the Facts
More Than Discussion, Security is Vital
Securing SCADA: Compensating Controls
When I noticed it, I tried to post a comment on Darren’s site, but he had closed the blog to comments. So instead I decided to respond via our blog. Here is my comment to Darren:
“Great article. These are serious attack scenarios and the industry needs to deal with them immediately. To me, the key take-away is not that there are security issues in DNP3 Masters, but the fact that these types of attacks expose a problem in all ICS protocols.
“Now I disagree with your statement: “Put all the deep packet inspection on it you want – you won’t find a signature.” My experience is that Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) is a valid defense in these scenarios – in fact it may be one of the only.
“DPI firewalls don’t use signatures. Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) like Snort might, but any good DPI firewall uses packet validity analysis that determines if a packet is malformed in any way. We call that “Sanity Checking” of the packet stream.
“For example, one of Adam Crain’s vulnerabilities occurs when a start value in the DNP3 message is greater than the corresponding end value. This tends to break applications, because it violates a common implicit assumption that the master has asked for at least one measurement. And that creates loops with a negative count.
“Now a good DNP3 implementation would ensure that end values in any message are always greater than the starting values, discarding messages that do not comply. But as Crain shows, we have some bad DNP3 implementations out in the real world. So we need either a patch or a compensating control.
“One solution is a good DNP3 DPI firewall. (Tofino Security doesn’t make a DPI firewall for DNP3 yet, but we are working on it.) Well designed, it would ensure that end values are greater than the starting values. If this isn’t the case, the firewall should drop the packet REGARDLESS of data content. Thus, no matter what the attacker puts in his/her payload, or how he/she tried to obfuscate it with techniques like NOP slides, the firewall’s checks will detect and block the attack. If the attacker uses a valid pair of values in the packet, then the exploit fails because the vulnerability requires the end value to be less than the start value to create the negative counter problem.
“Certainly DPI firewalls are not the silver bullet to fix all security issues. For example, if there is some sort of yet unknown vulnerability strategy based on some obscure combination of invalid fields that are not checked in a DPI implementation, then the attack might be successful. But the key point is the entire class of vulnerabilities has to be unsuspected. If the DPI firewall’s designers can even imagine that a vulnerability is possible, then hopefully they can design a check for that general class of attack. They definitely do not design for a specific instance or exploit signature like a traditional IDS would – that is a proven waste of time.
“So in closing, your scenario analysis is great work Darren. Just be careful when you say a technology will or won’t address the problem. Some times.
Good Test Tools
I would like to point out that the above is one reason that fuzzers like Adam’s are so useful. If Adam can think of a way to fuzz a packet, then DPI firewall designers can think of a way to detect and block that packet, regardless if a vulnerability has even been discovered. Think of it as security focused on vulnerability prevention rather than exploit detection.
So the fact is, unless we want to cut the communications between the Master and RTU, DPI firewalls are probably industries only choice today. Either that, or end users could wait until every possible vulnerability in their SCADA products has been discovered by researchers like Adam and then fixed by the vendors. Given our progress so far, I am not counting on the second option.
Eric Byres is vice president and chief technology officer at Tofino Security. Click here to read the full version of the Practical SCADA Security blog.