Research discovers vulnerability in Siemens ICS software

Tenable researchers say flaw would allow a remote attacker to perform unauthorised admin actions

Threats to often delicate ISC systems cannot be overstated, said Deraison.
Threats to often delicate ISC systems cannot be overstated, said Deraison.

A critical vulnerability in Siemens STEP 7 TIA Portal, design and automation software for industrial control systems (ICS) would allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to perform any administrative actions on the system, enabling them to add malicious code to adjacent ICS.

The flaw [CVE-2019-10915] could allow a bad actor to exploit the vulnerability to harvest data in order to plan a future, targeted attack, according to researchers from Tanable who discovered the vulnerability.

The vulnerability, which impacts the same family of devices compromised in the STUXNET attack, could be used as a stepping stone in a tailored attack against critical infrastructure, with the potential for catastrophic damage.

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“Attacks on critical infrastructure go well-beyond cyberspace — they have the potential to cause physical damage and harm. And the threats to these often delicate systems cannot be overstated,” said Renaud Deraison, chief technology officer and co-founder, Tenable. “Cooperation and collaboration between researchers and vendors are of utmost importance when it comes to vulnerability disclosures. Tenable Research is committed to working with willing vendors, like Siemens, to protect organizations everywhere from new and emerging threats.”

The delicate nature and function of critical infrastructure means a successful cyberattack could result in damage to operational technology equipment, disrupt operations, destruction of hardware or cyber espionage.

Siemens has released patches to address this vulnerability. Users are urged to confirm their systems have been updated to the latest version.

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