Industrial Cellular Routers at Risk: 11 New Vulnerabilities Expose OT Networks

Several security vulnerabilities have been disclosed in cloud management platforms associated with three industrial cellular router vendors that could expose operational technology (OT) networks to external attacks.

The findings were presented by Israeli industrial cybersecurity firm OTORIO at the Black Hat Asia 2023 conference last week.

The 11 vulnerabilities allow “remote code execution and full control over hundreds of thousands of devices and OT networks – in some cases, even those not actively configured to use the cloud.”

Specifically, the shortcomings reside in the cloud-based management solutions offered by Sierra Wireless, Teltonika Networks, and InHand Networks to remotely manage and operate devices.

Successful exploitation of the vulnerabilities could pose severe risks to industrial environments, allowing adversaries to sidestep security layers as well as exfiltrate sensitive information and achieve code execution remotely on the internal networks.

Even worse, the issues could be weaponized to obtain unauthorized access to devices in the network and perform malicious operations such as shutdown with elevated permissions.

This, in turn, is made possible due to three different attack vectors that could be exploited to compromise and takeover cloud-managed IIoT devices through their cloud-based management platforms:

  • Weak asset registration mechanisms (Sierra Wireless): An attacker could scan for unregistered devices that are connected to the cloud, get their serial numbers by taking advantage of the AirVantage online Warranty Checker tool, register them to an account under their control, and execute arbitrary commands.
  • Flaws in security configurations (InHand Networks): An unauthorized user could leverage CVE-2023-22601, CVE-2023-22600, and CVE-2023-22598, a command injection flaw, to gain remote code execution with root privileges, issue reboot commands, and push firmware updates.
  • External API and interfaces (Teltonika Networks): A threat actor could abuse multiple issues identified in the remote management system (RMS) to “expose sensitive device information and device credentials, enable remote code execution, expose connected devices managed on the network, and allow impersonation of legitimate devices.”

The six flaws impacting Teltonika Networks – CVE-2023-32346, CVE-2023-32347, CVE-2023-32348, CVE-2023-2586, CVE-2023-2587, and CVE-2023-2588 – were discovered following a “comprehensive research” carried out in collaboration with Claroty.

“An attacker successfully exploiting these industrial routers and IoT devices can cause a number of impacts on compromised devices and networks, including monitoring network traffic and stealing sensitive data, hijacking internet connections and accessing internal services,” the companies said.

OTORIO said cloud-managed devices pose a “huge” supply-chain risk and that a single vendor compromise can act as a backdoor for accessing several OT networks in one sweep.

The development comes a little more than three months after the cybersecurity company disclosed 38 security flaws in the wireless industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices that could provide attackers a direct path to internal OT networks and put critical infrastructure at risk.

“As the deployment of IIoT devices becomes more popular, it’s important to be aware that their cloud management platforms may be targeted by threat actors,” security researcher Roni Gavrilov said. “A single IIoT vendor platform being exploited could act as a ‘pivot point’ for attackers, accessing thousands of environments at once.”

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