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Pepperl+Fuchs Ecom Rugged Devices Exposed to KRACK Attacks

Rugged tablets, phones and PDAs made by Ecom Instruments use Wi-Fi components that are vulnerable to a recently disclosed attack method named KRACK.

Rugged tablets, phones and PDAs made by Ecom Instruments use Wi-Fi components that are vulnerable to a recently disclosed attack method named KRACK.

Ecom Instruments, acquired last year by Germany-based factory automation solutions provider Pepperl+Fuchs, specializes in developing mobile devices designed for use in hazardous areas, including in the chemical and petrochemical, oil and gas exploration, mining, and energy sectors.

According to ICS-CERT and its German counterpart CERT@VDE, several Windows- and Android-based mobile devices from Ecom are affected by the KRACK flaws.

The list of vulnerable products includes Android-based Tab-Ex 01 tablets, Ex-Handy 09 and 209 phones, and Smart-Ex 01 and 201 smartphones, and Windows-based Pad-Ex 01 tablets, and i.roc Ci70-Ex, CK70A-ATEX, CK71A-ATEX, CN70A-ATEX and CN70E-ATEX PDAs.ecom mobile devices vulnerable to KRACK attacks

“ecom instruments devices are in theory attackable by replay, decryption and forging of packets,” CERT@VDE said in an advisory. “However, to perform the attack, the attacker must be significantly closer to the ecom device than to the access point. The WPA2 password cannot be compromised using a KRACK attack. Note if WPA-TKIP is used instead of AES-CCMP, an attacker can easily forge and inject packets directly into the WLAN.”

Pepperl+Fuchs and Ecom are working on addressing the vulnerabilities in the impacted Android products. As for the Windows-based devices, users have been advised to apply the patches provided by Microsoft and switch to using AES-CCMP encryption instead of WPA-TKIP.

KRACK, or Key Reinstallation Attack, is the name assigned to a series of vulnerabilities in the WPA2 protocol. The flaws can allow an attacker within range of the targeted device to read information that the user believes is encrypted and, in some cases, even inject and manipulate data.

The vulnerabilities affect millions of devices from tens or possibly hundreds of vendors. Pepperl+Fuchs is not the first industrial solutions provider to inform customers that its products are impacted by KRACK.

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Days after the vulnerabilities were disclosed, Cisco, Rockwell Automation and Sierra Wireless admitted that their industrial networking devices had been vulnerable. A few weeks later, Siemens, ABB, Phoenix Contact, Lantronix and Johnson Controls also warned customers.

Experts believe the risk of attacks against the industrial devices themselves is not as big as the risk to systems used by ICS engineers and operators for remote access, such as smartphones, tablets, and network communication devices.

Related: Thousands of Malware Variants Found on Industrial Systems

Related: One-Third of Industrial Networks Connected to Internet

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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