Feeds

Cisco bugs surrender control of building's critical systems

Security, HVAC, power systems ripe for plucking

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Cisco Systems has warned of serious vulnerabilities in a device that connects a building's ventilation, lighting, security, and energy supply systems so they can be controlled by IT workers remotely.

The networking giant on Wednesday urged users of the Cisco Network Building Mediator products to patch the vulnerabilities, which among other things allow adversaries to obtain administrative passwords. No authentication is required to read the system configuration files, making it possible for outsiders to take control of a building's most critical control systems.

"Successful exploitation of any of these vulnerabilities could result in a malicious user taking complete control over an affected device," a Cisco advisory stated. The notice also warned that the vulnerabilities are present in the legacy products from Richards-Zeta, the Cisco-acquired company that originally designed the system. The bugs were discovered during internal testing.

Another flaw makes it possible for low-level employees to gain full control of the device by accessing default administrative accounts. Other bugs allowed malicious insiders to intercept traffic as it travels between an administrator and the Building Mediator and to escalate limited privileges.

The device - which gathers a wealth of data in different formats and presents it in a single, easy-to-read panel - is part of Cisco's push to help customers use IT to automate and remotely control tasks that used to require manual procedures. That can save building operators plenty of money, but it also presents new threats, especially since the product is designed to seamlessly interact with larger power grids.

The advisory offers several workarounds and common-sense configuration settings, but it warns customers to proceed with care, since certain access ports and protocols are needed to ensure that the system runs correctly. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.