Security Experts:

Flaw in Schneider Electric Vamp Software Allows Arbitrary Code Execution

A vulnerability discovered in Schneider Electric’s VAMPSET software can be exploited to execute arbitrary code on affected systems, ICS-CERT reported last week.

The VAMPSET software is a setting and configuration tool for Vamp protection relays, the Vamp 321 arc flash protection unit, and measuring and monitoring units.

Core Security researcher Ricardo Narvaja discovered that the software product is plagued by a buffer overflow vulnerability (CVE-2014-8390) that can be exploited by a local attacker to execute arbitrary code. The flaw affects VAMPSET software version 2.2.145 and prior.Vamp protection relay

“VAMPSET is vulnerable to a Stack-based and Heap-based buffer overflow attack, which can be exploited by attackers to execute arbitrary code by providing a malicious CFG or DAT file with specific parameters,” ICS-CERT noted in its advisory. “These malformed or corrupted disturbance recording files cause VAMPSET to crash when opened in a stand-alone state, without connection to a protection relay. This vulnerability has no effect on the Windows Operating System.”

The VAMPSET vulnerability can be exploited by loading a malformed VAMPSET disturbance recording file on the affected system. However, the security hole cannot be exploited remotely so the attacker must convince maintenance personnel to accept a malicious file and open it with a vulnerable version of the software.

Schneider Electric has released VAMPSET 2.2.168 to ensure that malformed disturbance recording files are handled properly. The company also advises organizations that use the configuration tool to leverage User Access Control (UAC) and employ best security practices in order to prevent successful attacks.

“Additionally, to minimize the risk of attack, users who are not directly using this software on a regular basis are strongly encouraged to delete this application from their computer to reduce the likelihood of attack and to store relay’s configuration files in the client’s protected location,” the energy giant said in its advisory.

Core Security’s own vulnerability report, which contains additional technical details on the issue, shows that the flaw was reported directly to Schneider Electric in mid-February.

This isn’t the first time researchers find a buffer overflow flaw in the VAMPSET software. In September 2014, Aivar Liimets of Martem AS identified a stack-based buffer overflow that could have been exploited with the aid of corrupted setting files or disturbance recording files to crash the configuration tool.

Related: Learn More At the ICS Cyber Security Conference

Related: Schneider Electric Fixes Vulnerabilities in HMI Products

Related: Schneider Electric Patches Flaw in Pelco Video Management Software

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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.