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Advisory (ICSA-13-347-01)

Siemens COMOS Privilege Escalation

Original release date: December 13, 2013 | Last revised: August 29, 2018

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OVERVIEW

Siemens notified NCCIC/ICS-CERT of a privilege escalation vulnerability in the Siemens COMOS database application. An update has been produced by Siemens and is available to resolve the vulnerability.

The client application used for accessing the database system might allow authenticated Windows users to elevate their rights in regard to the database access over the COMOS graphical user interface.

AFFECTED PRODUCTS

The following Siemens products are affected:

  • All COMOS versions prior to 9.2
  • COMOS 9.2: all versions prior to V092_Upd08_Patch001 (9.2.0.8.1)
  • COMOS 10.0: all versions prior to V100_SP03_Upd01_Patch040 (10.0.3.1.40)
  • COMOS 10.1: all versions prior to V101_Patch002 (10.1.0.0.2)

IMPACT

A potential vulnerability in the client application of COMOS might allow privilege escalation in regard to the database access for local authenticated users. Elevated access may allow compromise of the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the database.

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

BACKGROUND

Siemens is a multinational company headquartered in Munich, Germany.

COMOS is an object-oriented database system that supports collecting, processing, saving, and distributing information. COMOS is used across many engineering domains, including functional engineering of plans and machines, engineering and design, automation and process control planning, and asset and plant management. COMOS offices are located worldwide in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

VULNERABILITY CHARACTERIZATION

VULNERABILITY OVERVIEW

IMPROPER PRIVILEGE MANAGEMENTa

The vulnerability in the client application of COMOS might allow an attacker privilege escalation to the database using the COMOS graphical user interface. This interface is intended for local authenticated users to access the database through the client application.

CVE-2013-6840b has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v2 base score of 7.2 has been assigned; the CVSS vector string is (AV:L/AC:L/Au:N/C:C/I:C/A:C).c

VULNERABILITY DETAILS

EXPLOITABILITY

The attacker would need local access as an authenticated user to exploit the vulnerability.

EXISTENCE OF EXPLOIT

No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability.

DIFFICULTY

An attacker with a low skill would be able to exploit this vulnerability.

MITIGATION

Siemens provides the following updates for COMOS Versions 9.2, 10.0 and 10.1 that resolves this vulnerability:

  • COMOS 9.2: V092_Upd08_Patch001 (9.2.0.8.1)
  • COMOS 10.0: V100_SP03_Upd01_Patch040 (10.0.3.1.40)
  • COMOS 10.1: V101_Patch002 (10.1.0.0.2)

Siemens recommends installing the updates as soon as possible. These updates are available at the Siemens customer support site here:

http://support.automation.siemens.com/WW/view/en/16605032

For further information, please find a description and release notes in the Siemens Security Advisory here:

http://www.siemens.com/innovation/pool/de/forschungsfelder/siemens_security_advisory_ssa-568732.pdf

Users of older versions of COMOS should upgrade to the supported versions.

As a further mitigation measure Siemens strongly recommends to protect the Windows systems against unauthorized access with appropriate measures.

In general, Siemens strongly recommends to protect systems according to recommended security practices and to configure the environment according to operational guidelines in order to run the affected software components in a protected IT environment.

NCCIC/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 and/or systems, and ensure that they are not accessible from 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.

NCCIC/ICS-CERT also provides a section for control systems security recommended practices on the NCCIC/ICS-CERT Web page at: http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/content/recommended-practices. Several recommended practices are available for reading and download, including Improving Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity with Defense-in-Depth Strategies. NCCIC/ICS-CERT reminds organizations to perform proper impact analysis and risk assessment prior to deploying defensive measures.

Additional mitigation guidance and recommended practices are publicly available in the NCCIC/ICS-CERT Technical Information Paper, ICS-TIP-12-146-01B—Targeted Cyber Intrusion Mitigation Strategies,d that is available for download from the NCCIC/ICS-CERT Web site (http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/).

Organizations observing any suspected malicious activity should follow their established internal procedures and report their findings to NCCIC/ICS-CERT for tracking and correlation against other incidents.

In addition, NCCIC/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 Scamse for more information on avoiding email scams.
  3. Refer to Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacksf for more information on social engineering attacks.


Contact Information

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

Email: NCCICCUSTOMERSERVICE@hq.dhs.gov
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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