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Tridium patches control systems bug after a year

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More than 300,000 automation systems – covering lighting control, building automation and security, heating and air conditioning and more – need patching after a slew of vulnerabilities in the Tridium Niagara AX went public thanks to an ISC-CERT advisory.

The announcement of the vulnerabilities comes nearly synchronously with the announcement of the patch – and ounce again highlights the slack security attitudes endemic in the industrial control segment.

According to the researchers that turned up the vulnerabilities, they had been trying to work with the vendor for a year before the advisory (PDF) was published at the CERT’s control systems page.

Niagara AX is a framework designed to draw data from a wide variety of control systems, from multiple vendors, into a single management environment with a Web interface. The vulnerabilities were documented by Billy Rios and Terry McCorkle as research for this July article in the Washington Post.

The advisory notes the following vulnerabilities in the software:

  • Directory traversal – allowing an attacker to use a crafted Port 80 request to access restricted directories;
  • Weak storage of credentials – credentials are held in a configuration file residing on the server’s root directory;
  • Plaintext storage of usernames and passwords;
  • and
  • Predictable session IDs.

Tridium has now released a patch for its Niagara AX versions 3.5 and 3.6 – but not until it had taken so long to respond that Rios wrote that “following up with an unresponsive vendor is extremely frustrating.”

Rios claims that Tridium has been aware of the vulnerabilities for nearly a year. ®

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