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Rockwell Automation Urges Customers to Disconnect ICS From Internet

Rockwell Automation is concerned about internet-exposed ICS due to heightened geopolitical tensions and adversarial cyber activity globally.

Rockwell Automation vulnerabilities

Rockwell Automation has issued a security notice urging customers to ensure that their industrial control systems (ICS) are not connected to the internet and exposed to cyber threats.

The industrial automation giant has told customers to take ‘immediate’ action and check whether any devices that are not specifically designed for public connectivity are exposed to the web. 

A Shodan search for ‘Rockwell’ currently returns more than 7,000 results, including thousands of what appear to be Allen-Bradley programmable logic controllers (PLCs). 

The company is concerned about potential attacks “due to heightened geopolitical tensions and adversarial cyber activity globally”.

“Consistent with Rockwell Automation’s guidance for all devices not specifically designed for public internet connectivity (for example, cloud and edge offerings), users should never configure their assets to be directly connected to the public-facing internet,” Rockwell said. “Removing that connectivity as a proactive step reduces attack surface and can immediately reduce exposure to unauthorized and malicious cyber activity from external threat actors.”

The company’s advisory links to several relevant resources, including guidance and best practices. 

Rockwell’s advisory highlights several vulnerabilities found and patched in recent years, including CVE-2021-22681, CVE-2022-1159, CVE-2023-3595 and CVE-2023-3596, CVE-2023-46290, CVE-2024-21914, CVE-2024-21915, and CVE-2024-21917.  

These flaws can allow hackers to conduct DoS attacks, escalate privileges, modify settings, remotely compromise PLCs, and even conduct Stuxnet-style attacks. 

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The discovery of exploits targeting CVE-2023-3595 and CVE-2023-3596 suggests that threat actors, particularly APT groups, have set their sights on Rockwell industrial products and have at least attempted to exploit Rockwell product vulnerabilities. However, there are no confirmed reports of actual attacks.

The US cybersecurity agency CISA has also posted an alert to bring attention to Rockwell’s notice. 

Related: Rockwell ThinManager Vulnerabilities Could Expose Industrial HMIs to Attacks

Related: ICS Patch Tuesday: Advisories Published by Siemens, Rockwell, Mitsubishi Electric

Related: Organizations Informed of 10 Vulnerabilities in Rockwell Automation Products 

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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