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U.S. Department of Homeland Security Seal. ICS-CERT. Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team.

Advisory (ICSA-12-131-02)

GE Intelligent Platforms Proficy HTML Help Vulnerabilities

Original release date: June 27, 2012 | Last revised: April 30, 2013

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Independent researcher Andrea Micalizzi has identified a command injection vulnerability in a third-party HTML help application used by some GE Intelligent Platforms Proficy products. While analyzing this report, GE identified a stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability that also existed in the same component. These vulnerabilities were coordinated through the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI).

A remote attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities.

GE Intelligent Platforms has provided a tool to remove the unnecessary ActiveX component that introduced these vulnerabilities.

Affected Products

The following GE Intelligent Platforms products are affected:

  • Proficy Historian: Versions 4.5, 4.0, 3.5, and 3.1
  • Proficy HMI/SCADA – iFIX: Versions 5.1 and 5.0
  • Proficy Pulse: Version 1.0
  • Proficy Batch Execution: Version 5.6
  • SI7 I/O Driver: Versions between 7.20 and 7.42.


By luring a user into visiting a malicious website, an attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities to execute arbitrary code on the client or place or replace files on the client.

Impact to individual organizations depends on many factors that are unique to each organization. ICS-CERT recommends that organizations evaluate the impact of these vulnerabilities based on their operational environment, architecture, and product implementation.

According to GE, Proficy is automation and operations management software that is deployed across multiple industries worldwide.


Vulnerability Characterization

Vulnerability Overview

Stack-Based Buffer Overflow1

A remote stack-based buffer overflow condition exists in the KeyHelp.ocx control because it fails to perform adequate boundary checks on user-supplied input.

CVE-2012-25152 been assigned to this vulnerability.

According to the researcher, a CVSS V2 Base score of 7.5 has been assigned.

Improper Neutralization of Special Elements3

A remote command injection vulnerability exists in the KeyHelp.ocx control because it fails to restrict or perform adequate validation on user-supplied input.

CVE-2012-25164 been assigned to this vulnerability.

Vulnerability Details


These vulnerabilities are remotely exploitable.

Existence of Exploit

No known public exploits specifically target these vulnerabilities.


An attacker with a medium skill would be able to exploit these vulnerabilities with the use of social engineering.


GE Intelligent Platforms recommends that the KeyHelp.ocx ActiveX control be unregistered and deleted to eliminate these vulnerabilities. GE Intelligent Platforms has recommended specific control removal instructions for each of the affected products to ensure that it continues to function properly once the control is removed. Please see their instructions at the following location: http://support.ge-ip.com/support/index?page=kbchannel&id=S:KB14863

A username and password may be required.

ICS-CERT encourages asset owners to take additional defensive measures to protect against this and other cybersecurity risks.

  • Minimize network exposure for all control system devices. Critical devices should not directly face the Internet.
  • Locate control system networks and remote devices behind firewalls, and isolate them from the business network.
  • When remote access is required, use secure methods, such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), recognizing that VPN is only as secure as the connected devices.

The Control Systems Security Program (CSSP) also provides a section for control systems security recommended practices on the CSSP web page. Several recommended practices are available for reading and download, including Improving Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity with Defense-in-Depth Strategies.

Organizations observing any suspected malicious activity should follow their established internal procedures and report their findings to ICS-CERT for tracking and correlation against other incidents. ICS-CERT reminds organizations to perform proper impact analysis and risk assessment prior to taking defensive measures.

In addition, ICS-CERT recommends that users take the following measures to protect themselves from social engineering attacks:

1. Do not click web links or open unsolicited attachments in e-mail messages.
2. Refer to Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams for more information on avoiding e-mail scams.
3. Refer to Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.

Contact Information

For any questions related to this report, please contact the NCCIC at:

Toll Free: 1-888-282-0870

For industrial control systems cybersecurity information:  http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov 
or incident reporting:  https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/Report-Incident?

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