Attacks/Breaches

12/5/2018
06:45 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Symantec Intros USB Scanning Tool for ICS Operators

ICSP Neural is designed to address USB-borne malware threats.

USB-borne malware continues to present a major threat to industrial control systems (ICS) nearly a decade after the Stuxnet attacks on Iran's nuclear infrastructure first highlighted the danger.

This week Symantec unveiled a new product it says is designed to help organizations in critical infrastructure sectors better manage the threat.

The security vendor's new Industrial Control System Protection Neural (ICSP Neural) is a rugged USB scanning station that ICS operators can install in their environments for vetting the security of USB devices before the devices are inserted into a critical control system.

The scanner uses data from Symantec's threat intelligence network to look for malware and risky files on USB memory sticks. It features a light sandbox for running scripts, files, and other executables on USB devices to check for malware.

ICSP supports file reputation scans and a self-learning capability that Symantec says allows the scanner to identify, with a high degree of precision, not just known malware threats but also ones that are previously unknown. Devices with malware are cleaned and electronically "watermarked" as safe with a small, signed file.

ICSP includes an optional enforcement driver that organizations can install on workstations and other OT systems if they choose. The relatively lightweight driver — with less than a 5 MB footprint — ensures only USBs that have been scanned and watermarked as safe are allowed to mount on a target system.

The driver can currently be installed on OT systems running Windows XP to Windows 10. It works with workstations and human machine interface (HMI) systems from a variety of vendors, including Emerson and Rockwell. Symantec plans to introduce support for Linux systems sometime next year.

Symantec's new technology is similar to a tool that ICS vendor Honeywell introduced in 2017 called Secure Media Exchange (SMX). Like ICSP, Honeywell's SMX is designed to help operations and plant managers protect control systems against USB-borne malware threats, especially those targeted at OT environments and therefore not easily detected by standard antivirus tools.

Employees in industrial settings simply insert their removable media into SMX while checking in and checking out, so any malware on them can be detected and removed. As with ICSP Neural, plant managers can use the Honeywell appliance to prevent unchecked USB devices from using USB ports on critical systems.

ICSP addresses an important need for ICS operators, says Kunal Agarwal, general manager of IoT at Symantec.

Because of how critical they are, many ICS environments are typically air-gapped — inaccessible via network from the outside. In these situations, USB devices are critical to delivering software updates, files, patches, configuration changes, and other data to ICSes, Agarwal says. Often these devices represent the only way to provide ongoing updates and maintenance to critical systems, even though a high percentage of them contain malware and other threats, he says.

Honeywell recently analyzed data collected from 50 organizations in four sectors — oil and gas, energy, chemical, and paper and pulp — that are using SMX. The data showed 44% of the organizations had detected and blocked at least one suspicious file on a USB device.

Of the threats that were blocked, 26% had the potential to create a major disruption — such as loss of visibility or control — in an ICS environment, Honeywell said in the report. Sixteen percent of the threats were specifically targeted at ICSes, and 15% contained known malware, including Stuxnet, Mirai, WannaCry and Triton. In addition to Trojans, other threats that were blocked included bots, hacking tools, and potentially unwanted applications.

Significantly, malware is not the only threat that USB devices pose.

"Malicious USB devices crafted specifically to attack computers via the USB interface have become readily available for purchase online," Honeywell noted in its report. "BadUSB — a technique that turns USB devices such as fans and charging cables into potential attack vectors — has increasingly been weaponized."

Related Content:

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
mehmoodawan108
50%
50%
mehmoodawan108,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/6/2018 | 6:14:02 AM
Nice post
Thanks for the post
Valentine's Emails Laced with Gandcrab Ransomware
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/14/2019
High Stress Levels Impacting CISOs Physically, Mentally
Jai Vijayan, Freelance writer,  2/14/2019
Mozilla, Internet Society and Others Pressure Retailers to Demand Secure IoT Products
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  2/14/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How Enterprises Are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Data breach fears and the need to comply with regulations such as GDPR are two major drivers increased spending on security products and technologies. But other factors are contributing to the trend as well. Find out more about how enterprises are attacking the cybersecurity problem by reading our report today.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-8948
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-20
PaperCut MF before 18.3.6 and PaperCut NG before 18.3.6 allow script injection via the user interface, aka PC-15163.
CVE-2019-8950
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-20
The backdoor account dnsekakf2$$ in /bin/login on DASAN H665 devices with firmware 1.46p1-0028 allows an attacker to login to the admin account via TELNET.
CVE-2019-8942
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-20
WordPress before 4.9.9 and 5.x before 5.0.1 allows remote code execution because an _wp_attached_file Post Meta entry can be changed to an arbitrary string, such as one ending with a .jpg?file.php substring. An attacker with author privileges can execute arbitrary code by uploading a crafted image c...
CVE-2019-8943
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-20
WordPress through 5.0.3 allows Path Traversal in wp_crop_image(). An attacker (who has privileges to crop an image) can write the output image to an arbitrary directory via a filename containing two image extensions and ../ sequences, such as a filename ending with the .jpg?/../../file.jpg substring...
CVE-2019-8944
PUBLISHED: 2019-02-20
An Information Exposure issue in the Terraform deployment step in Octopus Deploy before 2019.1.8 (and before 2018.10.4 LTS) allows remote authenticated users to view sensitive Terraform output variables via log files.