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Advisory (ICSA-12-138-01)

Emerson DeltaV Multiple Vulnerabilities

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

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ICS-CERT originally released Advisory ICSA-12-138-01P to the US-CERT secure portal on May 17, 2012, and released Update A on May 21, 2012. This web page release (including Update A) was delayed to allow users time to download and install the update.

Researcher Kuang-Chun Hung of the Security Research and Service InstituteInformation and Communication Security Technology Center (ICST) has identified multiple vulnerabilities in the Emerson DeltaV application.

These vulnerabilities can be exploited by a remote attacker; however, no publicly available exploits are currently known to exist. Emerson has produced a hotfix that mitigates these vulnerabilities. ICST has tested this hotfix and confirms that it fully resolves the vulnerabilities.

Affected Products

The following Emerson products are affected:

  • DeltaV and DeltaV Workstations,
  • V9.3.1, V10.3.1, V11.3, and V11.3.1,
  • DeltaV ProEssentials Scientific Graph, and
  • V5.0.0.6


These vulnerabilities, if exploited, could allow denial of service, information disclosure, or remote code execution.

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.


Emerson is a global manufacturing and technology company offering multiple products and services in the industrial, commercial, and consumer markets through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and tools and storage businesses.

Vulnerability Characterization

Vulnerability Overview

Cross Site Scripting1

This vulnerability enables an attacker to inject client side script into web pages viewed by other users or bypass client side security mechanisms imposed by modern web browsers. If successfully exploited, this vulnerability could allow arbitrary code execution and may require social engineering to exploit.

CVE-2012-18142 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS V2 base score of 7.5 has also been assigned.

SQL Injection3

This vulnerability can be used by an attacker to perform database operations that were unintended by the web application designer and, in some instances, can lead to total compromise of the database server. This vulnerability, if successfully exploited, could allow arbitrary code execution.

CVE-2012-18154 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS V2 base score of 7.5 has also been assigned.

Denial of Service5

A denial of service can be created by sending a specially crafted packet to PORTSERV.exe on both TCP/111 and UDP/111. This attack will cause the software to crash, denying service to legitimate users.

CVE-2012-18166  has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS V2 base score of 5 has also been assigned.

Buffer Overflow7

In the affected version, DeltaV does not properly sanitize the inputs from project files. Invalid information in certain fields can cause the program to crash and could be used to execute arbitrary code.

CVE-2012-18178 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS V2 base score of 4.6 has also been assigned.

File Manipulation9

If successfully exploited, an attacker can overwrite arbitrary files on the victim’s computer in the context of the vulnerable application using the ActiveX control.

CVE-2012-181810 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS V2 base score of 7.5 has also been assigned.

Vulnerability Details


These vulnerabilities are remotely exploitable.

Existence of Exploit

No known exploits specifically target this vulnerability.


An attacker with a medium skill level would be able to exploit these vulnerabilities.


Emerson has created a hotfix that resolves these vulnerabilities.

Emerson has distributed a notification in KBA NK-1200-0091 ICS-CERT ADVISORY—ICSA-12-137-01 Emerson Multiple Vulnerabilities: Impact and Recommended Actions to customers who own a DeltaV Control System; the notification provides details of the vulnerabilities, recommended mitigations, and instructions on obtaining and installing the hotfix.

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 email messages.
  2. Refer to Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams for more information on avoiding email 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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