Feeds

World's electrical grids open to attack

Scads of SCADA bugs

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

A serious vulnerability has been found in yet another computerized control system that runs some of the world's most critical infrastructure, this time in a product sold by a vendor known as the ABB Group.

According to researchers from C4 - a firm specializing in the security of so-called SCADA, or Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition, systems - ABB's Process Communication Unit (PCU) 400 suffers from a critical buffer overflow bug.

"The vulnerability was exploited by C4 to verify it can be used for arbitrary code execution by an unauthorized attacker," researcher Idan Ofrat wrote in this advisory published on Thursday. "In addition, an attacker can use his control over the FEP server to insert a generic electric grid malware...in order to cause harm to the grid."

The vulnerable software controls critical national infrastructure, including electrical grids. The vulnerability affects versions 4.4, 4.5, and 4.6, and possibly others, the C4 advisory warns.

ABB has issued a patch for the bug.

The advisory comes as concern mounts about the safety of software used to run gasoline refineries, manufacturing plants and other industrial facilities. In June, a now-patched vulnerability in CitectSCADA potentially exposed plants' critical operations to outsiders or disgruntled employees. Law makers on both sides of the Atlantic have warned that lax security may make critical infrastructure vulnerable to saboteurs or terrorists.

C4 is no stranger to security in SCADA systems. In January, it warned of vulnerabilities in two products made by Ge Fanuc. One of them resided in Ge Fanuc's Cimplicity product, and the other affected the company's Proficy Information Portal 2.6. Both appear to have have been patched. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.