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AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution
ABB Ellipse patches plaintext credential transmission
20 December 2017
AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary
Product: ABB Ellipse
Operating System: Network Appliance
Impact/Access: Access Confidential Data -- Remote/Unauthenticated
CVE Names: CVE-2017-16731
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CVSS v3 6.5
ATTENTION: Remotely exploitable/low skill level to exploit.
Vulnerability: Unprotected Transport of Credentials
ABB reports that the vulnerability affects Ellipse 8.3 through Ellipse 8.9
released prior to December 2017 (including Ellipse Select).
Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could allow an attacker to
discover authentication credentials by sniffing the network traffic.
ABB has released the following product updates to mitigate the vulnerability:
* Ellipse 8.5.26 Release 7, Dec 2017
* Ellipse 8.6.21 Release 5, Dec 2017
* Ellipse 8.7.18 Release 7, Dec 2017
* Ellipse 8.8.12 Release 7, Dec 2017
* Ellipse 8.9.6 Release 7, Dec 2017
Please see ABB Cyber Security Advisory number Ellipse201703 for more
information about this vulnerability, as well as additional mitigations and
workarounds at the following location:
NCCIC/ICS-CERT recommends that users take defensive measures to minimize the
risk of exploitation of this vulnerability. Specifically, users should:
* Minimize network exposure for all control system devices and/or systems,
and ensure that they are not accessible from the Internet.
* Locate control system networks and remote devices behind firewalls, and
isolate them from the business network.
* When remote access is required, use secure methods, such as Virtual Private
Networks (VPNs), recognizing that VPNs may have vulnerabilities and should
be updated to the most current version available. Also recognize that VPN
is only as secure as the connected devices.
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.
No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability.
UNPROTECTED TRANSPORT OF CREDENTIALS CWE-523
A vulnerability exists in the authentication of Ellipse to LDAP/AD using the
LDAP protocol. An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by sniffing local
network traffic, allowing the discovery of authentication credentials.
CVE-2017-16731 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of
6.5 has been assigned; the CVSS vector string is (AV:A/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/C:H/
ABB self-reported the vulnerability to ICS-CERT.
Critical Infrastructure Sectors: Critical Manufacturing, Energy
Countries/Areas Deployed: Worldwide
Company Headquarters Location: Switzerland
For any questions related to this report, please contact the NCCIC at:
Toll Free: 1-888-282-0870
For industrial control systems cybersecurity information: http://
or incident reporting: https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/Report-Incident?
The NCCIC continuously strives to improve its products and services. You can
help by choosing one of the links below to provide feedback about this product.
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