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AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution
Rockwell Automation RSLogix 500 AND RSLogix Micro File
Parser Buffer Overflow Vulnerability
16 September 2016
AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary
Product: Rockwell Automation RSLogix Micro
Rockwell Automation RSLogix 500
Operating System: Network Appliance
Impact/Access: Execute Arbitrary Code/Commands -- Existing Account
CVE Names: CVE-2016-5814
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Rockwell Automation RSLogix 500 AND RSLogix Micro File Parser Buffer Overflow
Original release date: September 15, 2016
All information products included in http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov are provided
"as is" for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information
contained within. DHS does not endorse any commercial product or service,
referenced in this product or otherwise. Further dissemination of this product
is governed by the Traffic Light Protocol (TLP) marking in the header. For
more information about TLP, see http://www.us-cert.gov/tlp/.
This advisory was originally posted to the US-CERT secure Portal library on
August 11, 2016, and is being released to the ICS-CERT web site.
Ariele Caltabiano (kimiya) working with Trend Micros Zero Day Initiative has
identified a parser buffer overflow vulnerability in Rockwell Automations
RSLogix Starter Lite. Rockwell Automation investigated the matter and found
that it also affected RSLogix 500 and other versions of RSLogix Micro.
Rockwell Automation has produced a patch to mitigate this vulnerability in
Rockwell Automation reports that the vulnerability affects the following
RSLogix Micro Starter Lite, all versions,
RSLogix Micro Developer, all versions,
RSLogix 500 Starter Edition, all versions,
RSLogix 500 Standard Edition, all versions, and
RSLogix 500 Professional Edition, all versions.
A successful attack may potentially allow malicious code to execute on the
target computer at the same privilege level as the logged-in user. The impact
to the users environment is highly dependent on both the type of malicious
code included in the attack and the mitigations that the user may already
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.
Rockwell Automation, which is a US-based company, provides industrial
automation control and information products worldwide across a wide range of
The affected products, RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro, are design and
configuration software used with certain Rockwell Automation products.
According to Rockwell Automation, the software is for use in systems deployed
across several sectors, including Chemical, Critical Manufacturing, Food and
Agriculture, Water and Wastewater Systems, and others. Rockwell Automation
estimates that this product is used worldwide.
CLASSIC BUFFER OVERFLOW [a]
The discovered vulnerability exists in the code that opens and parses the
RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro project files with an RSS extension. In order
for attackers to exploit this vulnerability in RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro,
they must create a malicious RSS file. The buffer overflow condition is
exploited if an affected version of the product opens a malicious project
file. If the attack is successful, the malicious code will run at the same
privilege level as the user who is logged into the machine.
CVE-2016-5814 [b] has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score
of 8.6 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 runs the
vulnerable application and loads the malformed RSS file.
EXISTENCE OF EXPLOIT
No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability.
Crafting a working exploit for this vulnerability would be easy. An exploit
would require social engineering to convince the user to accept the malformed
RSS file. Additional user interaction is needed to load the malformed file.
This decreases the likelihood of a successful exploit.
Rockwell Automation recommends the following precautionary measures as
additional risk mitigation strategies for this type of attack. If possible,
employ multiple strategies simultaneously.
- - Users using affected versions of RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro are
encouraged to apply the patch that addresses associated risk and includes
added improvements to further harden the software and enhance its resilience
against similar malicious attacks.
* RSLogix Micro version 8.40.00 or RSLogix 500 version 8.40.00: Apply
patch KB878490, which can be found on Rockwell Automations web site at
the following URL with a valid account:
(link is external)
- - Do not open untrusted RSS files with RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro.
- - Run all software as user, not as an administrator to minimize the impact of
malicious code on the infected system.
- - Use trusted software, software patches, and anti-virus/anti-malware
programs, and interact only with trusted web sites and attachments.
- - Employ training and awareness programs to educate users on the warning signs
of a phishing or social engineering attack.
- - Use of Microsoft AppLocker or other similar whitelisting application can
help mitigate risk. Information on using AppLocker with Rockwell Automation
products is available at the following URL with a valid account:
- - 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 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.
For more information on this issue, please see Rockwell Automations
publication KB89582 on its web site at:
(link is external)
In addition, 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 [d] for more information on
avoiding email scams.
- - Refer to Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks [e] 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 at:
http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/content/recommended-practices. 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 ICSCERT 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.
a. CWE-120: Buffer Copy without Checking Size of Input ('Classic Buffer
Overflow'), http://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/120.html, web site last
accessed August 11, 2016.
b. NVD, http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2016-5814, NIST
uses this advisory to create the CVE web site report. This web site will be
active sometime after publication of this advisory.
c. CVSS Calculator,
web site last accessed August 11, 2016.
d. Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams,
http://www.us-cert.gov/reading_room/emailscams_0905.pdf, web site last
accessed August 11, 2016.
e. National Cyber Alert System Cyber Security Tip ST04-014,
http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/ST04-014.html, web site last accessed August
For any questions related to this report, please contact ICS-CERT at:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail)
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 this
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