Moxa Vulnerabilities Surge in ICS Devices

May 31, 2016 @ 2:01 PM
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2 min read

The Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) published an alert this week that highlighted vulnerabilities in Moxa’s MiiNePort devices, which are server modules that mainly operate in the manufacturing, energy and transportation sectors. Security researcher Karn Ganeshen warned that these models are plagued by at least three Moxa vulnerabilities.

What’s the Problem?

One flaw, CVE-2016-2286, can be thought of as weak credential management. The product is not protected by a password in its default configuration, which can let a remote attacker gain full administrative access. Ganeshen said that normal password hygiene should be enforced to mitigate this issue.

CVE-2016-2295 is a flaw that allows sensitive information such as passwords to be stored in cleartext inside the device’s configuration file. Attackers could remotely access this information if the recommended Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption is not used to protect the data.

The last flaw, CVE-2016-2285, is a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability. Using it, attackers could pretend to be users, changing passwords and configurations on the device.

ICS-CERT said Moxa will release a patch to address the vulnerabilities. Until that’s available, Moxa recommended disabling HTTP and Telenet ports as well as ensuring that all ports are only accessible by trusted systems. It also suggested users enable passwords.

It’s Bigger Than Moxa Vulnerabilities

Ganeshen has also analyzed the products of other ICS vendors and found vulnerabilities; it’s not just a Moxa problem.

“I feel ICS products are essentially waiting desperately to be exploited by threat actors,” Ganeshen told SecurityWeek. “While it is understood that these products cater to critical infrastructure and their continued availability and operations are essential, it is also important to be aware that these products do not always operate stand-alone, but rather are one component in the bigger solution.”

His point is well taken: Vulnerabilities in ICS products are amplified by the complexities of the overall systems to which they are connected.

Larry Loeb
Principal, PBC Enterprises

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE mag...
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