Schneider Electric still shipping passwords in firmware

You'd think a vendor of critical infrastructure would at least pretend to care about security


That “don't use hard-coded passwords” infosec rule? Someone needs to use a needle to write it on the corner of Schneider Electric's developers' eyes so they don't forget it.

Yes, it's happened again, this time on the SCADA vendor's Schneider Modicon TM221CE16R, Firmware 1.3.3.3 – and without new firmware, users are stuck, because they can't change the password.

It's a real Friday-afternoon-special: someone encrypted the user/password XML file with the fixed key “SoMachineBasicSoMachineBasicSoMa”.

That means an attacker can open the control environment (SoMachine Basic 1.4 SP1), get and decrypt the user file, and take over.

As the discoverers, Simon Heming, Maik Brüggemann, Hendrik Schwartke, Ralf Spenneberg of Germany's Open Source Security note, they went public because Schneider didn't respond to their contact.

The same group dropped another treat, again from Schneider, again on the TM221CE16R, Firmware 1.3.3.3 hardware: the password protecting its applications can be retrieved remotely without authentication.

A user need only send the command below over Modbus using TCP Port 502:

echo -n -e '\x00\x01\x00\x00\x00\x05\x01\x5a\x00\x03\x00' | nc IP 502

“After that the retrieved password can be entered in SoMachine Basic to download, modify and subsequently upload again any desired application”, they write.

America's ICS-CERT classifies Schneider Modicon kit as falling in the “Critical Manufacturing, Food and Agriculture, Water and Wastewater Systems” critical infrastructure sectors – something The Register thinks should make it more careful about putting passwords inside its firmware.

It's not, after all, the first time it's had trouble with passwords. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Verizon: Ransomware sees biggest jump in five years
    We're only here for DBIRs

    The cybersecurity landscape continues to expand and evolve rapidly, fueled in large part by the cat-and-mouse game between miscreants trying to get into corporate IT environments and those hired by enterprises and security vendors to keep them out.

    Despite all that, Verizon's annual security breach report is again showing that there are constants in the field, including that ransomware continues to be a fast-growing threat and that the "human element" still plays a central role in most security breaches, whether it's through social engineering, bad decisions, or similar.

    According to the US carrier's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) released this week [PDF], ransomware accounted for 25 percent of the observed security incidents that occurred between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021, and was present in 70 percent of all malware infections. Ransomware outbreaks increased 13 percent year-over-year, a larger increase than the previous five years combined.

    Continue reading
  • Slack-for-engineers Mattermost on open source and data sovereignty
    Control and access are becoming a hot button for orgs

    Interview "It's our data, it's our intellectual property. Being able to migrate it out those systems is near impossible... It was a real frustration for us."

    These were the words of communication and collaboration platform Mattermost's founder and CTO, Corey Hulen, speaking to The Register about open source, sovereignty and audio bridges.

    "Some of the history of Mattermost is exactly that problem," says Hulen of the issue of closed source software. "We were using proprietary tools – we were not a collaboration platform before, we were a games company before – [and] we were extremely frustrated because we couldn't get our intellectual property out of those systems..."

    Continue reading
  • UK government having hard time complying with its own IR35 tax rules
    This shouldn't come as much of a surprise if you've been reading the headlines at all

    Government departments are guilty of high levels of non-compliance with the UK's off-payroll tax regime, according to a report by MPs.

    Difficulties meeting the IR35 rules, which apply to many IT contractors, in central government reflect poor implementation by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and other government bodies, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said.

    "Central government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds to cover tax owed for individuals wrongly assessed as self-employed. Government departments and agencies owed, or expected to owe, HMRC £263 million in 2020–21 due to incorrect administration of the rules," the report said.

    Continue reading
  • Internet went offline in Pakistan as protestors marched for ousted prime minister
    Two hour outage 'consistent with an intentional disruption to service' said NetBlocks

    Internet interruption-watcher NetBlocks has reported internet outages across Pakistan on Wednesday, perhaps timed to coincide with large public protests over the ousting of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

    The watchdog organisation asserted that outages started after 5:00PM and lasted for about two hours. NetBlocks referred to them as “consistent with an intentional disruption to service.”

    Continue reading
  • Suspected phishing email crime boss cuffed in Nigeria
    Interpol, cops swoop with intel from cybersecurity bods

    Interpol and cops in Africa have arrested a Nigerian man suspected of running a multi-continent cybercrime ring that specialized in phishing emails targeting businesses.

    His alleged operation was responsible for so-called business email compromise (BEC), a mix of fraud and social engineering in which staff at targeted companies are hoodwinked into, for example, wiring funds to scammers or sending out sensitive information. This can be done by sending messages that impersonate executives or suppliers, with instructions on where to send payments or data, sometimes by breaking into an employee's work email account to do so.

    The 37-year-old's detention is part of a year-long, counter-BEC initiative code-named Operation Delilah that involved international law enforcement, and started with intelligence from cybersecurity companies Group-IB, Palo Alto Networks Unit 42, and Trend Micro.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022