BlackEnergy fingered for suspected attacks on Siemens’ SCADA software

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is urging users of Siemens’ industrial control software to update their systems after finding signs the notorious BlackEnergy malware exploited recently patched flaws.

In late November, German industrial giant Siemens released fixes for two critical SCADA flaws that allowed remote attackers to extract files from WinCC SCADA servers and execute arbitrary code on them. WinCC SCADA servers are used by large firms in industries such as the energy and chemical sectors.

At the time, the DHS’ Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) warned that “indicators exist that this vulnerability may have been exploited during a recent campaign”. Symantec appeared to have been the company that flagged the potential attacks, according to Siemens’ advisory.

The two flaws affected Siemens SIMATIC WinCC SCADA servers and two other products TIA Portal and PCS7. Both flaws could be remotely exploited.

In an update on Thursday, ICS-CERT reported that Siemens-based SCADA servers were likely to have been exploited by the BlackEnergy malware — a notorious piece of malware that’s been known to target Windows and Linux systems used by large industrial firms.

Siemens was one of the vendors in ISC’CERT’s October alert that warned of BlackEnergy attacks. Other products targeted included General Electric's Cimplicity HMI and BroadWin's WebAccess. However, at the time Siemens had not released patches for the flaws.

BlackEnergy malware can conduct port scans, steal passwords, gather system information, steal digital certificates, connect remotely to a target and wipe hard disks.

With patches available and indicators that BlackEnergy did exploit them, ICS-CERT now “strongly encourages” users of Siemens’ WinCC, TIA Portal, and PCS7 — the products patched in November — to update the latest versions of software.

“While ICS-CERT lacks definitive information on how WinCC systems are being compromised by BlackEnergy, there are indications that one of the vulnerabilities fixed with the latest update for SIMATIC WinCC may have been exploited by the BlackEnergy malware,” ICS-CERT said.

Links to the relevant advisories can be found .

An analysis of the malware by Russian security vendor Kaspersky noted that targets included power generation operators, power facilities construction companies, suppliers and manufacturers of heavy power-related materials, and energy sector investors.

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Join CSO for the day@#csoperspectives and hear from @kimzetter @frankheidt @simplenomad Register today

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags BlackEnergyDepartment of Homeland Security (DHS)WinCC SCADAmalwareIndustrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT)CSO AustraliaSiemens’SCADA softwareEnex TestLabBroadWin's WebAccess

More about CSOEnex TestLabGeneral ElectricKasperskyLinuxSiemensSymantec

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Liam Tung

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place