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AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution
Siemens SIMATIC WinCC and SIMATIC PCS 7 ActiveX Vulnerability
15 December 2016
AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary
Product: Siemens SIMATIC WinCC
Siemens SIMATIC PCS 7
Operating System: Windows
Impact/Access: Denial of Service -- Remote with User Interaction
Access Confidential Data -- Remote with User Interaction
CVE Names: CVE-2016-9160
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Siemens SIMATIC WinCC and SIMATIC PCS 7 ActiveX Vulnerability
Original release date: December 13, 2016
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Mingzheng Li from Acorn Network Security Lab has identified an ActiveX
vulnerability in Siemens SIMATIC WinCC and SIMATIC PCS 7. Siemens has
produced a new version to mitigate this vulnerability.
This vulnerability could be exploited remotely.
Siemens reports that the vulnerability affects the following versions
SIMATIC WinCC: All versions prior to SIMATIC WinCC V7.2, and
SIMATIC PCS 7: All versions prior to SIMATIC PCS 7 V8.0 SP1
Exploitation of this vulnerability may allow an attacker to crash the
component or leak application memory content.
Impact to individual organizations depends on many factors that are unique
to each organization. NCCIC/ICS-CERT recommends that organizations evaluate
the impact of this vulnerability based on their operational environment,
architecture, and product implementation.
Siemens is a multinational company headquartered in Munich, Germany.
The affected products are: SIMATIC WinCC, a supervisory control and data
acquisition (SCADA) system; and SIMATIC PCS7, a distributed control system
(DCS) integrating SIMATIC WinCC. These products are deployed across several
sectors including Chemical, Energy, Food and Agriculture, and Water and
Wastewater Systems. Siemens estimates that these products are used worldwide.
IMPROPER RESTRICTION OF OPERATIONS WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF A MEMORY BUFFER[a]
An attacker could crash an ActiveX component or leak parts of the application
memory if a user is tricked into clicking on a malicious link under certain
conditions. An attacker must have control over a web site that is allowed
to execute ActiveX components.
CVE-2016-9160[b] has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS
v3 base score of 4.2 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is
This vulnerability is not exploitable remotely and cannot be exploited
without user interaction. The exploit is only triggered when a local user
is social engineered into clicking on a malicious link.
EXISTENCE OF EXPLOIT
No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability.
Crafting a working exploit for this vulnerability would be difficult. Social
engineering is required to convince the user to click on the malicious link.
Siemens provides SIMATIC WinCC Version 7.2 and newer, and PCS7 Version
8.0 SP2 and newer, which fix the vulnerability. Users can obtain these
newer versions by contacting the local Siemens representative or customer
Until users can upgrade to the new versions, Siemens recommends the
following mitigations to reduce the risk:
Only allow execution of ActiveX components on trusted sites.
Apply defense-in-depth concepts.
For more information on this vulnerability and more detailed mitigation
instructions, please see Siemens Security Advisory SSA-693129 at the
Siemens advises configuring the environment according to Siemens operational
guidelines in order to run the devices in a protected IT environment.
ICS-CERT recommends that users take the following measures to protect
themselves from social engineering attacks:
Do not click web links or open unsolicited attachments in email messages.
Refer to Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams for more information on
avoiding email scams.
Refer to Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks for more
information on social engineering attacks.
ICS-CERT reminds organizations to perform proper impact analysis and risk
assessment prior to deploying defensive measures.
ICS-CERT also provides a section for control systems security recommended
practices on the ICS-CERT web page. Several recommended practices are
available for reading and download, including Improving Industrial Control
Systems Cybersecurity with Defense-in-Depth Strategies.
Additional mitigation guidance and recommended practices are
publicly available in the ICS-CERT Technical Information Paper,
ICS-TIP-12-146-01B--Targeted Cyber Intrusion Detection and Mitigation
Strategies, that is available for download from the ICS-CERT web site.
Organizations observing any suspected malicious activity should follow their
established internal procedures and report their findings to ICS-CERT for
tracking and correlation against other incidents.
CWE-119: Improper Restriction of Operations within the Bounds of a
Memory Buffer, https://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/119.html, web
site last accessed December 13, 2016.
NIST uses this advisory to create the CVE web site report. This web
site will be active sometime after publication of this advisory.
web site last accessed December 13, 2016.
For any questions related to this report, please contact ICS-CERT at:
Toll Free: 1-877-776-7585
International Callers: (208) 526-0900
For industrial control systems security information and incident reporting:
ICS-CERT continuously strives to improve its products and services. You
can help by choosing one of the links below to provide feedback about
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