Feeds

Removing SCADA worm could disrupt power plants

Security catch 22

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
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
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
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.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.