Security Experts:

Critical Vulnerabilities Found in Rittal Cooling System

Two critical authentication-related vulnerabilities have been found in a chiller made by Germany-based Rittal for cooling IT applications.

Rittal, a subsidiary of German manufacturing and services company Friedhelm Loh Group, specializes in making enclosure systems for industrial environments and data centers.

Industrial cybersecurity firm Applied Risk revealed last week that one of its researchers discovered two serious vulnerabilities in Rittal’s SK 3232-series chiller, which is designed specifically for cooling IT applications, such as liquid cooling packages (LCP) and computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units.

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which also published an advisory for the vulnerabilities last week, the impacted systems are used worldwide in the IT, energy, critical manufacturing, communications, and commercial facilities sectors.

One of the flaws uncovered by Applied Risk in the Rittal SK chiller, tracked as CVE-2019-13549, allows an attacker to bypass authentication and access critical functions by navigating to a specific URI. The second weakness, CVE-2019-13553, is related to the existence of hardcoded credentials that allow an attacker to access the system.

According to Applied Risk, both vulnerabilities allow an attacker to turn affected cooling units on or off, and change temperature settings. In both scenarios, attackers may be able to cause disruptions.

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CISA said in its advisory that the vulnerabilities are remotely exploitable, but it’s unclear if there are any impacted systems accessible directly from the internet.

Applied Risk said it reported the vulnerabilities to the vendor in January 2019, but it did not receive a response and the flaws remain unpatched. However, CISA has advised organizations using the affected products to contact Rittal for information on mitigating the security holes.

SecurityWeek has reached out to Rittal for comment and will update this article if the company responds.

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.