Security Experts:

Privilege Escalation Flaw Affects Several Siemens Products

Siemens has released updates and temporary fixes to address a medium-severity privilege escalation vulnerability affecting many of its industrial products.

Organizations have been warned that users with local access to the Windows operating system running on the same device as affected Siemens applications can escalate their privileges if certain conditions are met.

“Unquoted service paths could allow local Microsoft Windows operating system users to escalate their privileges if the affected products are not installed under their default path (“C:\Program Files\*” or the localized equivalent),” Siemens and ICS-CERT wrote in advisories published this week.

The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2016-7165, cannot be exploited if the impacted product is installed in the default path or the localized equivalent.

The security hole affects several Siemens SCADA systems, distributed control systems (DCS), engineering tools, and simulators, including SIMATIC, SINEMA, TeleControl, SOFTNET, SIMIT, Security Configuration Tool (SCT) and Primary Setup Tool (PST) products.

The flaw, reported by Watersure and Kiandra IT, has been addressed in some of these products with software updates. For other products, until updates become available, the vendor recommends applying a temporary fix, following operational guidelines and restricting access to the file system.

High severity flaws in Phoenix Contact inline controllers

ICS-CERT also published an advisory this week to warn users about high severity flaws affecting inline controllers manufactured by Phoenix Contact, a Germany-based automation company.

Matthias Niedermaier and Michael Kapfer of HSASec Hochschule Augsburg discovered that all ILC 1xx products are affected by three vulnerabilities. Remote attackers could exploit them to access passwords in clear text, bypass authentication, and read and write PLC variables without authentication.

The plaintext password storage issue has been patched with an update released by the vendor. For the other weaknesses, Phoenix Contact recommends the use of firewalls, restricting access to critical devices, updating the firmware, and following other best practices.

Related: Siemens Patches Flaws in SIMATIC, License Manager Products

Related: Siemens Patches Flaw in SCALANCE 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.