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Flaws in Moxa IIoT Product Expose ICS to Remote Attacks

Serious vulnerabilities found in an industrial IoT (IIoT) platform from Moxa could enable malicious hackers to launch remote attacks on industrial networks. The vendor has released a patch that should address the flaws.

Serious vulnerabilities found in an industrial IoT (IIoT) platform from Moxa could enable malicious hackers to launch remote attacks on industrial networks. The vendor has released a patch that should address the flaws.

Over a period of two weeks, researchers from Kaspersky Lab’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS CERT) conducted a black box analysis of Moxa’s ThingsPro 2.

Launched by the industrial networking and automation solutions provider in 2017, ThingsPro 2 is an IIoT gateway and device management solution that allows organizations to collect and analyze data from industrial control systems (ICS), and easily manage and access their assets.

Kaspersky researchers discovered a total of seven previously unknown vulnerabilities that can be exploited to obtain elevated privileges, execute arbitrary commands, access industrial networks, and take control of devices.

Since Moxa ThingsPro is designed to provide access to industrial systems from the Internet, Kaspersky warns that attackers may be able to exploit the vulnerabilities remotely over the Web. A search conducted with Shodan revealed 43 results for “thingspro,” while a search on the platform returned over 150 results for the same string.

While exploiting the privilege escalation and code execution vulnerabilities discovered by Kaspersky requires the attacker to authenticate on the system, researchers did find a user enumeration issue that makes it easier to find valid usernames and launch brute-force attacks to obtain the associated password.

An attacker could also use hidden authentication tokens to access the ThingsPro administration interface. These tokens are not visible in the admin interface to anyone, but they are stored locally in the application database.

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The vulnerabilities were reported to Moxa in January 2018 and they were patched in late July. The vendor released an advisory for the flaws in October 2018 and Kaspersky has now made technical details available.

The security holes impact Moxa ThingsPro 2 series running version 2.1 or prior of the firmware. The flaws have been patched with the release of version 2.3 and the vendor has also provided mitigations for the user enumeration issue, which can be addressed by using strong passwords.

“Moxa is a trusted and respected brand in the industrial systems world,” said Kaspersky researcher Alexander Nochvay. “However, despite the company’s vast expertise and experience, its new product had a number of vulnerabilities, which shows that it is important even for industry leaders to conduct proper cybersecurity tests. We call on all ICS-product developers to act responsibly, performing regular vulnerability checks, treating the security of solutions for industrial systems as an integral and essential part of development.”

Moxa recently teamed up with cybersecurity firm Trend Micro to launch TXOne Networks, a company focusing on securing industrial internet of things (IIoT) environments.

Related: Hardcoded Credentials Give Attackers Full Access to Moxa APs

Related: Severe Flaws Expose Moxa Industrial Routers to Attacks

Related: Moxa NPort Devices Vulnerable to Remote Attacks

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing 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.

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