Feeds

Removing SCADA worm could disrupt power plants

Security catch 22

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Siemens has made a program available for detecting and disinfecting malware attacking its software used to control power grids, gas refineries, and factories but warned customers who use it could disrupt sensitive plant operations.

The Munich-based engineering company on Thursday began distributing Sysclean, a malware scanner made by Trend Micro. It has been updated to remove Stuxnet, a worm that spreads by exploiting two separate vulnerabilities in Siemens's SCADA, or supervisory control and data acquisition, software and every supported version of Microsoft Windows.

“As each plant is individually configured, we cannot rule out the possibility that removing the virus may affect your plant in some way,” Siemens warned. The company also advised customers to keep the scanner updated because “there are currently some new derivative versions of the original virus around.”

Stuxnet has infected the engineering environment of at least one unidentified Siemens customer, and has since been eliminated, Siemens said. So far, the company said, there are no known infections of production plants. The worm spreads whenever a system running Siemens's SCADA software is attached to an infected USB stick. The attacks use a recently documented vulnerability in the Windows shortcut feature to take control of customer PCs. Once there, the worm takes advantage of default passwords in WinCC, the SCADA software provided by Siemens.

Siemens has come under blistering criticism for not removing the vulnerability two years ago, when, according to Wired.com, the default password threat first came to light.

“Siemens has put their customers at risk with this egregious vulnerability in their software,” Chris Wysopal, CTO of application security tools firm Veracode, wrote Thursday. “Worse, in my book however, is all the customers who purchased the software not knowing of its risk. Software customers that are operating SCADA systems on critical infrastructure or their factories with the WinCC software had a duty to their customers and shareholders to not purchase this software without proper security testing.”

Siemens has updated WinCC to fix the vulnerability. Microsoft has issued a stopgap fix but hasn't said yet when it plans to patch the the Windows bug. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New twist as rogue antivirus enters death throes
That's not the website you're looking for
ISIS terror fanatics invade Diaspora after Twitter blockade
Nothing we can do to stop them, says decentralized network
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned 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.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.