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TLP:WHITE

Advisory (ICSA-14-345-01)

Arbiter Systems 1094B GPS Clock Spoofing Vulnerability

Original release date: January 15, 2015

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OVERVIEW

This advisory was originally posted to the US-CERT secure Portal library on December 11, 2014, and is being released to the NCCIC/ICS-CERT web site.

Arbiter Systems has identified a GPS clock spoofing vulnerability in its 1094B clock. Arbiter Systems has produced a new product that is not vulnerable to this type of attack.

This vulnerability could be exploited remotely.

AFFECTED PRODUCTS

Arbiter Systems reports that the vulnerability affects the following:

  • Model 1094B GPS Substation Clock.

IMPACT

An attacker who exploits this vulnerability may be able to affect the accuracy of the clock.

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

BACKGROUND

Arbiter Systems manufactures time clocks, power measurement, and power calibration products for use in electricity generation and transmission. These products are used primarily in the United States with minor deployment to South America and Europe.

VULNERABILITY CHARACTERIZATION

VULNERABILITY OVERVIEW

INSUFFICIENT VERIFICATION OF DATA AUTHENTICITYa

An attacker with specialized radio equipment and knowledge could transmit signals that can disrupt the clock.

CVE-2014-9194b has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v2 base score of 5.4 has been assigned; the CVSS vector string is (AV:N/AC:H/Au:N/C:N/I:N/A:C).c

VULNERABILITY DETAILS

EXPLOITABILITY

This vulnerability could be exploited remotely.

EXISTENCE OF EXPLOIT

No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability.

DIFFICULTY

Crafting a working exploit for this vulnerability would be difficult.

MITIGATION

Arbiter Systems would like to stress that they have not heard of this vulnerability being exploited in an actual control system. They have created a new product line, the 1200 series, which is not vulnerable to this type of attack.

Arbiter Systems plans to continue to sell the 1094B model clock, because it is difficult to spoof the GPS signal and not likely to happen. In the unlikely event that the 1094B has been compromised, it can be recovered by removing and replacing the internal receiver battery. Arbiter Systems plans to investigate the feasibility of changing this model to protect against this type of exploit.

Please contact Arbiter Systems Technical Support for additional questions:

Phone: 1-800-321-3831 or 1-805-237-3831
Email: techsupport@arbiter.com
Web: http://www.arbiter.com/contact/index.php

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 VPNs may have vulnerabilities and should be updated to the most current version available. Also recognize that VPN is only as secure as the connected devices.

ICS-CERT also provides a section for control systems security recommended practices on the 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. 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 ICS‑CERT Technical Information Paper, ICS-TIP-12-146-01B—Targeted Cyber Intrusion Detection and Mitigation Strategies, that is available for download from the ICS-CERT web site (www.ics-cert.org).

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.


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?

The NCCIC continuously strives to improve its products and services. You can help by choosing one of the links below to provide feedback about this product.

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