Discovery of 56 OT Device Flaws Blamed on Lackluster Security Culture

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Researchers discovered 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology (OT) vendors, most of which they’ve attributed to inherent design flaws in equipment and a lax approach to security and risk management that have been plaguing the industry for decades, they said. The vulnerabilities–found in devices by reputed vendors Honeywell, Emerson, Motorola, Siemens, JTEKT, Bentley Nevada, Phoenix Contact, Omron, Yogogawa as well as an unnamed manufacturer–vary in terms of their characteristics and what they allow threat actors to do, according to the research from Forescout’s Vedere Labs. However, overall the “impact of each vulnerability is high dependent on the functionality each device offers,” according to a blog post about the flaws published Tuesday. Researchers broke down the type of flaw that they found in each of the products into four basic categories: insecure engineering protocols; weak cryptography or broken authentication schemes; insecure firmware updates; or remote code execution via native functionality. Among the activities that threat actors can engage in by exploiting the flaws on an affected device include: remote code execution (RCE), with code executed in different specialized processors and different contexts within a processor; denial of service (DoS) that can take a device completely offline or block access to a certain function; file/firmware/configuration manipulation that allows an attacker to change important aspects of a device;…

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