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Advisory (ICSA-16-084-01)

Cogent DataHub Elevation of Privilege Vulnerability

Original release date: March 24, 2016

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OVERVIEW

Steven Seeley of Source Incite has identified a privilege elevation vulnerability in the Cogent DataHub application produced by Cogent Real-Time Systems, Inc. Cogent has produced a new version to mitigate this vulnerability. Steven Seeley has tested the new version to validate that it resolves the vulnerability.

AFFECTED PRODUCTS

Cogent reports that the vulnerability affects the following products:

  • Cogent DataHub version 7.3.9 and prior.

IMPACT

Attackers could exploit this vulnerability to elevate their privileges from guest or user to system.

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

Cogent is a Canadian-based company that produces middleware applications that are used to interface with control systems.

The Cogent DataHub product is a real-time middleware solution and is deployed across several sectors including Chemical, Commercial Facilities, Critical Manufacturing, Energy, Financial Services, and others. This product is used worldwide, but primarily in the United States and Great Britain.

VULNERABILITY CHARACTERIZATION

VULNERABILITY OVERVIEW

IMPROPER PRIVILEGE MANAGEMENTa

Users or guests may escalate their privileges by changing an accessible file on the system.

CVE‑2016-2288b has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of 7.5 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is (AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/C:H/I:H/A:H).c

VULNERABILITY DETAILS

EXPLOITABILITY

This vulnerability is not exploitable remotely and cannot be exploited without user interaction. The exploit is only triggered when a local user runs the vulnerable application and loads the malformed file.

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

Cogent has fixed this vulnerability in Version 7.3.10 of DataHub. This is a free upgrade for any user running V7.x. Cogent advises that users upgrade to Cogent DataHub Version 7.3.10 from:

http://www.cogentdatahub.com/Download_Software.html

ICS-CERT recommends that users take defensive measures to minimize the risk of exploitation of these vulnerabilities. Specifically, users should:

  • 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 recommends that users take the following measures to protect themselves from social engineering attacks:

  • Do not click web links or open unsolicited attachments in email messages.
  • Refer to Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scamsd for more information on avoiding email scams.
  • Refer to Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attackse for more information on social engineering attacks.

ICS-CERT reminds organizations to perform proper impact analysis and risk assessment prior to deploying defensive measures.

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.

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 (http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/).

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 ICS-CERT at:

Email: ics-cert@hq.dhs.gov
Toll Free: 1-877-776-7585
International Callers: (208) 526-0900

For industrial control systems security information and incident reporting: http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov

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