Siemens: German customer hit by industrial worm

Exploited unpatched vulnerability in Windows

Siemens confirmed Tuesday that one of its customers has been hit by a new worm designed to steal secrets from industrial control systems.

To date, the company has been notified of one attack, on a German manufacturer that Siemens declined to identify. "We were informed by one of our system integrators, who developed a project for a customer in process industries," said Siemens Industry spokesman Wieland Simon in an e-mail message. The company is trying to determine whether the attack caused damage, he said.

The worm, called Stuxnet, was first spotted last month, when it infected systems at an unidentified Iranian organization, according to Sergey Ulasen, the head of the antivirus kernel department at VirusBlokAda, in Minsk, Belarus. The unidentified victim, which does not own the type of SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems targeted by the worm, "told us their workstations serially rebooted without any reason," Ulasen said in an e-mail message Tuesday.

VirusBlokAda soon received reports of the malware from "all over the middle east," he added. Last week, Microsoft said that it had logged infection attempts in the U.S., Indonesia, India and Iran. Security vendor Symantec is now logging about 9,000 infection attempts per day.

After gaining access to the Iranian system, VirusBlokAda researchers were able to analyze the worm and determine that it exploited a new and unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows operating system, allowing it to spread via USB devices and networked file systems.

The highly sophisticated worm also takes advantage of default passwords used by Siemens' management consoles to connect and then try to steal industrial secrets from infected companies. If it worked, the worm could steal manufacturing "recipes" from victims, allowing criminals to counterfeit products.

Security experts have warned that this type of computer-based industrial espionage is becoming a major ongoing business threat. Earlier this year both Intel and Google acknowledged that they were targeted in spying attacks, but this is the first publicly reported worm to target SCADA systems.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control Systems Emergency Response team posted an advisory (PDF), confirming that Siemens' Simatic WinCC and Step 7 products are affected by the worm.

A few hours later, Siemens published customer guidance for dealing with the worm problem on its website. "Together with Microsoft, Siemens is working on a remedy at operating system level," the note states.

Robert McMillan covers computer security and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Robert on Twitter at @bobmcmillan. Robert's e-mail address is robert_mcmillan@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags energyManufacturingindustry verticalsSiemens IndustryVirusBlokAda

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?