All information products included in https://us-cert.cisa.gov/ics are provided "as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service, referenced in this product or otherwise. Further dissemination of this product is governed by the Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) marking in the header. For more information about TLP, see https://us-cert.cisa.gov/tlp/.
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
- CVSS v3 8.1
- ATTENTION: Exploitable remotely/low skill level to exploit
- Vendor: General Electric
- Equipment: Communicator
- Vulnerabilities: Uncontrolled Search Path, Use of Hard-coded Credentials, Improper Access Controls
2. RISK EVALUATION
Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to gain administrative privileges, manipulate widgets and UI elements, gain control over the database, or execute administrative commands.
3. TECHNICAL DETAILS
3.1 AFFECTED PRODUCTS
GE reports that the following Communicator components, all versions prior to 4.0.517, are affected:
- Communicator Installer
- Communicator Application
- Communicator PostGreSQL
- Communicator MeterManager
- Communicator WISE Uninstaller
3.2 VULNERABILITY OVERVIEW
A non-administrative user may place malicious files within the installer file directory, which may allow an attacker to gain administrative privileges on a system during installation or upgrade.
An attacker may place malicious files within the working directory of the program, which may allow an attacker to manipulate widgets and UI elements.
Two backdoor accounts with hardcoded credentials exist, which may allow control over the database. This service is inaccessible to attackers if Windows default firewall settings are used by the end user.
A service running with system privileges may allow an unprivileged user to perform certain administrative actions, which may allow the execution of scheduled scripts with system administrator privileges. This service is inaccessible to attackers if Windows default firewall settings are used by the end user.
A non-administrative user may replace the uninstaller with a malicious version, which could allow an attacker to gain administrator privileges to the system.
- CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SECTORS: Critical Manufacturing, Energy
- COUNTRIES/AREAS DEPLOYED: Worldwide
- COMPANY HEADQUARTERS LOCATION: United States
Reid Wightman of Dragos reported these vulnerabilities to GE.
GE recommends users upgrade to GE Communicator version 4.0.517 or newer, which can be downloaded from the following link:
GE recommends ensuring Windows default firewall rules are active.
NCCIC recommends users take defensive measures to minimize the risk of exploitation of these vulnerabilities. Specifically, users should:
- Ensure that least privilege is implemented throughout the system.
- 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.
NCCIC reminds organizations to perform proper impact analysis and risk assessment prior to deploying defensive measures.
NCCIC also provides a section for control systems security recommended practices on the ICS-CERT web page. 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 on the ICS-CERT website in the Technical Information Paper, ICS-TIP-12-146-01B--Targeted Cyber Intrusion Detection and Mitigation Strategies.
Organizations observing any suspected malicious activity should follow their established internal procedures and report their findings to NCCIC for tracking and correlation against other incidents.
NCCIC also 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 Scams for more information on avoiding email scams.
- Refer to Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more information on social engineering attacks.
No known public exploits specifically target these vulnerabilities. Some of these vulnerabilities are exploitable remotely.
For any questions related to this report, please contact the CISA at:
Toll Free: 1-888-282-0870
CISA continuously strives to improve its products and services. You can help by choosing one of the links below to provide feedback about this product.