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Serious Vulnerabilities Found in CODESYS Software Used by Many ICS Products

Researchers have discovered 10 vulnerabilities — a majority rated critical or high severity — in CODESYS industrial automation software that is used in many industrial control system (ICS) products.

Researchers have discovered 10 vulnerabilities — a majority rated critical or high severity — in CODESYS industrial automation software that is used in many industrial control system (ICS) products.

Researchers at Russian cybersecurity company Positive Technologies identified the vulnerabilities in various products made by CODESYS. They initially found the flaws in a programmable logic controller (PLC) made by WAGO, but further analysis showed that the issues were actually introduced by CODESYS software that is used by more than a dozen manufacturers for their PLCs, including Beckhoff, Kontron, Moeller, Festo, Mitsubishi, HollySys and several Russian firms.

Six of the vulnerabilities have been rated critical and they can be exploited using specially crafted requests for remote code execution or to crash the system. The three flaws rated high severity can be leveraged for DoS attacks or remote code execution using specially crafted requests.

The remaining security bug has been rated medium severity and it can be exploited to disrupt targeted systems.

Learn more about vulnerabilities in industrial systems at SecurityWeek’s ICS Cyber Security Conference and SecurityWeek’s Security Summits virtual event series

Some of the vulnerabilities can be exploited only by an authenticated attacker or if the controller is not protected by a password, but Positive Technologies says some of the weaknesses can be exploited simply by having network access to the targeted device.

“The vendor rated some of these vulnerabilities as 10 out of 10, or extremely dangerous,” explained Vladimir Nazarov, head of ICS security at Positive Technologies. “Their exploitation can lead to remote command execution on PLC, which may disrupt technological processes and cause industrial accidents and economic losses.”

CODESYS has released updates for its CODESYS V2 web server, Runtime Toolkit and PLCWinNT products to address the vulnerabilities. The vendor has published separate advisories for the critical-, high- and medium-severity issues, and advises customers to install the updates.

Positive Technologies was sanctioned recently by the U.S. government for allegedly supporting Kremlin intelligence agencies. However, the company said it will continue to responsibly disclose the vulnerabilities found by its employees in the products of major U.S. companies.

Related: VMware Patches Critical Flaw Reported by Sanctioned Russian Security Firm

Related: Hackers Can Exploit Siemens Control System Flaws in Attacks on Power Plants

Related: Many Vulnerabilities Discovered in Moxa Industrial Switches

Written By

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.

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