Security Experts:

Siemens Releases BIOS Updates to Patch Intel Chip Flaws

Siemens has released BIOS updates for several of its industrial devices to patch vulnerabilities discovered recently in Intel chips, including Meltdown, Spectre and flaws affecting the company’s Management Engine technology.

Following the disclosure of the Meltdown and Spectre attack methods, industrial control systems (ICS) manufacturers immediately started analyzing the impact of the flaws on their products. Advisories have been published by companies such as Siemens, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, ABB, and Pepperl+Fuchs.

Siemens has determined that the security holes expose many of its product lines to attacks, including RUGGEDCOM, SIMATIC, SIMOTION, SINEMA, and SINUMERIK.

The company informed customers recently that it has started releasing BIOS updates for some of its impacted products, including SIMATIC industrial PCs, SIMATIC field PG rugged laptops, SIMATIC industrial tablet PCs (ITP), and SINUMERIK panel control units (PCU). In addition to firmware patches, users have been advised to install operating system updates, which should mitigate the Meltdown flaw and one variant of Spectre.

Learn More at SecurityWeek’s ICS Cyber Security Conference

The BIOS updates released by the company for the aforementioned SIMATIC and SINUMERIK devices also patch several vulnerabilities discovered last year by researchers in Intel’s Management Engine (ME), Server Platform Services (SPS), and Trusted Execution Engine (TXE) technologies.

The flaws impacting these Intel products can be exploited – in most cases locally, but at least one bug is remotely exploitable – for arbitrary code execution, privilege escalation, and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

The firmware updates from Siemens also fix a vulnerability affecting the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) in chips made by German semiconductor manufacturer Infineon.

The flaw, CVE-2017-15361, is related to the RSA library in TPM and it could allow a remote attacker who knows the public key to obtain the private RSA key. The security hole affects the products of several major tech firms, including Microsoft, Google, HP, Lenovo and Fujitsu.

Siemens has published separate advisories to inform users about the availability of patches for Meltdown/Spectre, Intel ME, and Infineon TPM vulnerabilities. ICS-CERT has so far published an advisory only for the Infineon issue.

Related: Serious Flaw Found in Many Siemens Industrial Products

Related: Risks to ICS Environments From Spectre and Meltdown Attacks

Related: Experts Find Faster Way to Exploit Infineon Chip Crypto Flaw

view counter
Eduard Kovacs 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.