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AUSCERT External Security Bulletin Redistribution
Advisory (icsa-20-154-04) ABB Central Licensing System
3 June 2020
AusCERT Security Bulletin Summary
Product: ABB Central Licensing System products
Operating System: Network Appliance
Impact/Access: Increased Privileges -- Remote/Unauthenticated
Execute Arbitrary Code/Commands -- Existing Account
Denial of Service -- Remote/Unauthenticated
Access Confidential Data -- Remote/Unauthenticated
Reduced Security -- Remote/Unauthenticated
CVE Names: CVE-2020-8481 CVE-2020-8479 CVE-2020-8476
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ICS Advisory (ICSA-20-154-04)
ABB Central Licensing System
Original release date: June 02, 2020
All information products included in https://us-cert.gov/ics 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 https://www.us-cert.gov/tlp/ .
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
o CVSS v3 9.8
o ATTENTION: Exploitable remotely/low skill level to exploit
o Vendor: ABB
o Equipment: Central Licensing System (CLS)
o Vulnerabilities: Information Exposure; Improper Restriction of XML External
Entity Reference; Uncontrolled Resource Consumption; Permissions,
Privilege, and Access Controls; Improper Access Control
2. RISK EVALUATION
Successful exploitation of these vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to
take control of the affected system node remotely and cause an affected CLS
Server node to stop or prevent legitimate access to the affected CLS Server.
3. TECHNICAL DETAILS
3.1 AFFECTED PRODUCTS
The following ABB CLS products and versions are affected:
o ABB Ability System 800xA and related system extensions: Versions 5.1, 6.0,
o Compact HMI: Versions 5.1, 6.0
o Control Builder Safe: Versions 1.0, 1.1, 2.0
o ABB Ability Symphony Plus - S+ Operations: Versions 3.0 to 3.2
o ABB Ability Symphony Plus - S+ Engineering: Versions 1.1 to 2.2
o Composer Harmony: Versions 5.1, 6.0, 6.1
o Composer Melody (incl. SPE for Melody 1.0 SPx): Versions 5.3, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3
o Harmony OPC Server (HAOPC): Standalone Versions 6.0, 6.1, 7.0
o ABB Ability System 800xA / Advant OCS Control Builder A: Versions 1.3, 1.4
o Advant OCS AC 100 OPC Server: Versions 5.1, 6.0, 6.1
o Composer CTK: Versions 6.1, 6.2
o AdvaBuild: Versions 3.7 SP1, 3.7 SP2
o OPC Server MOD 300 (non-800xA): Version 1.4
o OPC Data Link: Versions 2.1, 2.2
o ABB Ability Knowledge Manager: Versions 8.0, 9.0, 9.1
o ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management: Versions 1812, 1909
3.2 VULNERABILITY OVERVIEW
3.2.1 INFORMATION EXPOSURE CWE-200
Confidential data is written in an unprotected file, which may allow an
attacker to login to the affected node as a low privileged user and read
confidential data from an unprotected file.
CVE-2020-8481 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of
9.8 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is ( AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/
3.2.2 IMPROPER RESTRICTION OF XML EXTERNAL ENTITY REFERENCE CWE-611
The affected products are vulnerable to an external entity injection, which may
allow an attacker to read arbitrary files from the license server and/or from
the network. An attacker could also block the license handling.
CVE-2020-8479 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of
9.4 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is ( AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/
3.2.3 UNCONTROLLED RESOURCE CONSUMPTION CWE-400
The affected products are vulnerable to a denial-of-service attack, which may
allow an attacker to successfully block license handling.
CVE-2020-8475 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of
5.3 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is ( AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/
3.2.4 PERMISSIONS, PRIVILEGES, AND ACCESS CONTROLS CWE-264
The affected products are vulnerable to elevation of privileges, which may
allow an attacker to alter licenses assigned to system nodes. This could
potentially lead to a situation where legitimate nodes in the system network
are denied licenses.
CVE-2020-8476 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of
5.3 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is ( AV:N/AC:L/PR:N/UI:N/S:U/
3.2.5 IMPROPER ACCESS CONTROL CWE-284
The affected products are vulnerable to weak file permissions, which may allow
an attacker to block license handling, escalate privileges, and execute
CVE-2020-8471 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of
7.8 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is ( AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:U/
o CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE SECTORS: Chemical, Critical Manufacturing, Dams,
Energy, Food and Agriculture, Water and Wastewater
o COUNTRIES/AREAS DEPLOYED: Worldwide
o COMPANY HEADQUARTERS LOCATION: Switzerland
William Knowles of Applied Risk reported these vulnerabilities to ABB.
ABB recommends the following mitigations:
o Upgrade ABB CLS to the following versions:
5.1 Rev A (220.127.116.11)
5.1 Rev E (18.104.22.168)
6.1 RU1 (6.1.00100.417)
If ABB Central Licensing Server 5.1 (22.214.171.124) or earlier has been used
on the currently used hardware, please contact ABB for further
o Vulnerabilities pertaining to CVE-2020-8475 and CVE-2020-8476 will be
corrected in future product versions. Updates will be added to this
advisory once they become available.
o Methods for preventing unauthorized access to nodes on the CLS network
include but are not limited to usage of IPSec and by separating the Client
Server Network from other networks with firewalls.
o Ensure only authorized individuals have access to user accounts on the
o Interactive login to service accounts should be blocked.
For more information, please see ABB's cybersecurity advisory .
CISA recommends users take defensive measures to minimize the risk of
exploitation of this vulnerability. Specifically, users should:
o Minimize network exposure for all control system devices and/or systems,
and ensure that they are not accessible from the Internet .
o Locate control system networks and remote devices behind firewalls, and
isolate them from the business network.
o 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.
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.
No known public exploits specifically target these vulnerabilities.
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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