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AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution
Advisory (ICSMA-18-058-01): Medtronic 2090 Carelink
31 January 2020
AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary
Product: Medtronic 2090 Carelink Programmer
Operating System: Network Appliance
Impact/Access: Access Privileged Data -- Console/Physical
Read-only Data Access -- Existing Account
CVE Names: CVE-2018-5448 CVE-2018-5446
Revision History: January 31 2020: Updated bulletin from ICS-CERT re Vendor patches
February 28 2018: Initial Release
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ICS Advisory (ICSMA-18-058-01)
Medtronic 2090 Carelink Programmer Vulnerabilities (Update C)
Original release date: January 30, 2020
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1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
o CVSS v3 7.1
o Vendor: Medtronic
o Equipment: 2090 CareLink Programmer, 29901 Encore Programmer
o Vulnerabilities: Storing Passwords in a Recoverable Format, Relative Path
Traversal, Improper Restriction of Communication Channel to Intended
2. UPDATE INFORMATION
This updated advisory is a follow-up to the updated advisory titled
ICSMA-18-058-01 Medtronic 2090 CareLink Programmer Vulnerabilities (Update B)
that was published October 11, 2018, ICS webpage on us-cert.gov.
3. RISK EVALUATION
Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities may allow an attacker with
physical access to a 2090 Programmer to obtain per-product credentials to the
software deployment network. These credentials grant access to the software
deployment network, but access is limited to read-only versions of device
Additionally, successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities may allow an
attacker with local network access to influence communications between the
Programmer and the software deployment network.
Additional product security review revealed potential for an attacker to
remotely exploit a subset of these vulnerabilities. The SessionSync and
RemoteView features associated with the affected products are not affected by
the vulnerabilities reported in this advisory.
4. TECHNICAL DETAILS
4.1 AFFECTED PRODUCTS
The following versions of the Medtronic CareLink 2090 Programmer, a device used
by trained personnel at hospitals and clinics to program and manage Medtronic
cardiac devices, are affected:
o 2090 CareLink Programmer, all versions
o 29901 Encore Programmer, all versions
4.2 VULNERABILITY OVERVIEW
4.2.1 STORING PASSWORDS IN A RECOVERABLE FORMAT CWE-257
The affected product uses a per-product username and password that is stored in
a recoverable format.
CVE-2018-5446 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of
4.9 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is ( AV:P/AC:H/PR:N/UI:N/S:C/
4.2.2 RELATIVE PATH TRAVERSAL CWE-23
The affected product's software deployment network contains a directory
traversal vulnerability that could allow an attacker to read files on the
CVE-2018-5448 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of
4.8 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is ( AV:A/AC:H/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/
4.2.3 IMPROPER RESTRICTION OF COMMUNICATION CHANNEL TO INTENDED ENDPOINTS
The affected product uses a virtual private network connection to securely
download updates. The product does not verify it is still connected to this
virtual private network before downloading updates. The affected products
initially establish an encapsulated IP-based VPN connection to a
Medtronic-hosted update network. Once the VPN is established, it makes a
request to a HTTP (non-TLS) server across the VPN for updates, which responds
and provides any available updates. The programmer-side (client) service
responsible for this HTTP request does not check to ensure it is still
connected to the VPN before making the HTTP request. Thus, an attacker could
cause the VPN connection to terminate (through various methods and attack
points) and intercept the HTTP request, responding with malicious updates via a
man-in-the-middle attack. The affected products do not verify the origin or
integrity of these updates, as it insufficiently relied on the security of the
VPN. An attacker with remote network access to the programmer could influence
CVE-2018-10596 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of
7.1 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is. ( AV:N/AC:H/PR:L/UI:R/S:U/
o CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SECTORS: Healthcare and Public Health
o COUNTRIES/AREAS DEPLOYED: Worldwide
o COMPANY HEADQUARTERS LOCATION: Ireland
Researchers Billy Rios and Jonathan Butts of Whitescope LLC identified these
vulnerabilities and reported them to CISA.
Medtronic has assessed the vulnerabilities and determined that no new potential
safety risks were identified. In order to enhance system security, Medtronic
has added periodic integrity checks for files associated with the software
deployment network. Additionally, Medtronic has developed server-side security
changes that further enhance security. Medtronic reports that they will not be
issuing a product update; however, Medtronic has identified compensating
controls within this advisory to reduce the risk of exploitation and reiterates
the following from the CareLink 2090 Programmer Reference Manual:
o Maintain good physical controls over the programmer. Having a secure
physical environment prevents access to the internals of the programmer.
o Only connect the programmer to managed, secure networks.
o Update the software on the programmer when Medtronic updates are available.
o Alternatively, disconnect the programmer from the network. Network
connectivity is not required for normal programmer operation.
o Offline updates are available, contact your Medtronic representative for
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Medtronic has deployed mitigating patches to address the reported
vulnerabilities. Medtronic has also stated that they have increased security
controls associated with these vulnerabilities. As a result of the available
mitigating patches, Medtronic has re-enabled the network-based software update
Medtronic has stated that the patch for affected products can be obtained by
contacting Medtronic Technical Services at 800-638-1991.
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After additional review and risk evaluation of the affected products, Medtronic
has disabled the network-based software update mechanism, including both the
VPN and the HTTP subservices, as an immediate security mitigation. Users should
not attempt to update the affected products over the network as this update
mechanism is vulnerable to the attack described in section 4.2.3. Medtronic
will continue to implement and deploy increased security protections and
mitigations to address the vulnerabilities in this advisory.
Users should still obtain and apply updates via controlled USB dongles and
should contact their Medtronic representative for more information.
Medtronic recommends that affected products continue to be used for their
intended purpose in the previously described manner.
Medtronic has released a security bulletin for the 2090 CareLink Programmer .
CISA reminds organizations to perform proper impact analysis and risk
assessment prior to deploying defensive measures.
CISA also provides a section for control systems security recommended practices
on the ICS webpage on us-cert.gov . 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
on the ICS webpage on us-cert.gov in the Technical Information Paper,
ICS-TIP-12-146-01B--Targeted Cyber Intrusion Detection and Mitigation
Organizations observing any suspected malicious activity should follow their
established internal procedures and report their findings to CISA for tracking
and correlation against other incidents.
These vulnerabilities are not exploitable remotely.
For any questions related to this report, please contact the CISA at:
Toll Free: 1-888-282-0870
CISA 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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