Security Experts:

Emerson Patches Severe Flaw in ControlWave Controllers

Automation solutions provider Emerson has patched a potentially serious denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability in its ControlWave Micro Process Automation Controller product.

ControlWave Micro Process Automation Controller is a hybrid remote terminal unit (RTU)/programmable logic controller (PLC) used around the world, particularly in the energy, and water and wastewater systems sectors.

According to an advisory published this week by ICS-CERT, this Emerson product is affected by a high severity stack-based buffer overflow vulnerability that can be exploited to force the device to enter “halt mode” by sending specially crafted packets on port 20547.Emerson fixes vulnerability in ControlWave Process Automation Controller

“Exploitation may possibly cause a halt of Ethernet functionality, requiring a cold start to restore the system as well as communications related to ControlWave Designer access. This can possibly result in a loss of system availability and disruption in communications with other connected devices,” ICS-CERT said in its advisory.

The flaw, tracked as CVE-2018-5452, affects ControlWave Micro controllers running version 05.78.00 and prior of the firmware. Emerson patched the vulnerability with the release of version 05.79.00.

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The security hole was reported to Emerson by Nozomi Networks, a company that specializes in cybersecurity and visibility solutions for industrial control systems (ICS). The firm, which recently raised $15 million in a Series B funding round, said it did not take long to find the flaw using a process it developed for testing ICS devices.

Moreno Carullo, co-founder and CTO of Nozomi, told SecurityWeek that the vulnerability can be exploited remotely over the Internet against devices that have port 20547 open. A Shodan search conducted by the company showed 163 potentially vulnerable devices, mainly in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Carullo said the vulnerability was reported to Emerson in October 2017 and it was patched after roughly two months, which he described as “relatively fast compared to others.”

Related: Rockwell Automation Patches Serious Flaw in MicroLogix 1400 PLC

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Related: Flaws Found in Emerson DeltaV, Liebert Products

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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.