Software flaw exposed critical infrastructure firms to remote code execution
February 7, 2019
A critical flaw in an automation tool used to connect IT and OT systems in critical infrastructure firms in oil & gas, wind, municipal water, and solar sectors exposed such organisations to remote code execution, researchers have revealed.
According to security researchers at Tenable, an unauthenticated remote code execution vulnerability was discovered in InduSoft Web Studio, an automation tool used for human-machine interface (HMI) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems by critical infrastructure firms.
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The software is used extensively to connect IT and OT systems by organisations in oil & gas, packaging, wind, solar, food & beverage, municipal water, and correctional facilities.
Lack of authentication exposed software to attackers
The researchers explained that by accessing Web Studio's built-in language, an attacker could execute operating system level commands. By sending a properly crafted DBProcessCall message, the attacker could also direct the software to load a database configuration file from a remote server controlled and operated by the attacker.
This was possible for the attacker because DBProcessCall (Command 66) did not require any authentication or authorisation. By exploiting this vulnerability, an attacker could execute operating system level commands even if Security was enabled, a Main password was set and the Guest account was deleted.
After the vulnerability was highlighted by the researchers, Aveva, the supplier of InduSoft Web Studio, issued a software update to eliminate the security vulnerability. Critical infrastructure firms that use the software have been advised to update their software to InduSoft Web Studio v8.1 SP3 to prevent any breach of their systems.
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