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Siemens has reported a privilege escalation vulnerability in the Siemens COMOS database application. Siemens has produced an update that fixes this vulnerability. This vulnerability could be exploited remotely.
Siemens reports that the vulnerability affects the following versions of COMOS:
- all versions earlier than Version 9.1,
- Version 9.1: Patch 412 and earlier,
- Version 9.2: Update 3 Patch 022 and earlier, and
- Version 10: Patch 004 and earlier.
Authenticated users with read privileges could escalate their privileges by exploiting this vulnerability. Thus, the attacker is able to gain administrator access to the database.
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.
Siemens COMOS is an object oriented database system that supports collecting, processing, saving, and distributing of information through a design process. It allows the configuration of different user privileges to different users.
Authenticated users with read privileges could escalate their privileges by exploiting a documented method in the design of the database. As a result, the attacker gains administrator access to the database.
This vulnerability could be exploited remotely.
Existence of Exploit
No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability.
An attacker with a medium skill level could exploit these vulnerabilities.
For COMOS Versions 9.1, 9.2, and 10.0, Siemense recommends installing the corresponding patches as soon as possible:
- Version 9.1 Patch 413,
- Version 9.2 Update 03 Patch 023, and
- Version V10 Patch 005.
These software updates are available at Siemens customer support. For earlier versions, Siemens recommends upgrading to a newer version.
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. ICS-CERT reminds organizations to perform proper impact analysis and risk assessment prior to taking defensive measures.
Additional mitigation guidance and recommended practices are publicly available in the ICS-CERT Technical Information Paper, ICS-TIP-12-146-01A—Cyber Intrusion Mitigation 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.
- 1. CWE-250: Execution with Unnecessary Privileges, http://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/122.html, Web site last accessed August 14, 2012.
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