Tag Archives: vulnerabilities

If one can ping an industrial controller, one can stop it

12 November 2016

On Wednesday I watched the Indegy webinar “How a new PLC Simulator vulnerability can compromise SCADA/ICS networks?“. The webinar dealt with a recently detected vulnerability in a simulator software.

Simulators are used for verification and validation of changes to process control systems (PCS) before the changes are applied to the PCS. If the changes passes the tests it is very likely that the changes will have no negative impact on the PCS and thus to the safety of the process. Simulators are executed on the Engineering Station which is directly connected to the control system and to the production network.

PCS are very specialized realtime industrial computer systems. All PCS are lacking of the security features we know from the office IT, e.g. authorization, authentication and malware protection.

The slide below brings it straight to the point:

The Center of Gravity in the ICS Domain

The Center of Gravity in the ICS Domain

With this, the isolation of the Engineering Stations and the PCS in separate network zones is the key to security in the ICS domain. Access to these networks must be limited to authorized staff and through few strictly controlled access paths.

And with this, the first commandment of the Office IT Security, “Thou Shall Patch“, becomes less important in Industrial IT (OT) Security. “Thou Shall Isolate“, across the entire OSI stack, is the first commandment of OT Security.

Have a good weekend, and enjoy the webinar.


Adobe releases next emergency Flash zero-day patch

27 June 2015

Adobe Flash Player is a real source of irritation. New vulnerabilities are continuously made public. In the last three month 64 vulnerabilities were published in the NIST NVD Database, of which 43 with highest severity 10.0.

The latest vulnerability CVE-2015-3113, that potentially allows an attacker to take control of an affected system, is a technically advanced piece of malware. For technical details see the FireEye blog post ‘Operation Clandestine Wolf – Adobe Flash Zero-Day in APT3 Phishing Campaign’.

As usual the attack is started through a phishing email. And, once the attackers got access to the victim’s network, they move laterally through the network in the search of valuable information.

With this we have the first and second line of defense in a prevention strategy: User awareness training to support users in recognizing such attacks, and system isolation to prevent the attackers from moving laterally through the network.

Perhaps it’s time to solve this problem once and for all by uninstalling Flash Player…

Have a good weekend.