Serious Vulnerabilities Found in Schneider Electric Power Meters
Industrial cybersecurity firm Claroty this week disclosed technical details for two potentially serious vulnerabilities affecting PowerLogic smart meters made by Schneider Electric.
PowerLogic is a line of revenue and power quality meters that are used not only by utilities, but also industrial companies, healthcare organizations, and data centers for monitoring electrical networks.
Researchers at Claroty discovered that some of the PowerLogic ION and PM series smart meters are affected by vulnerabilities that can be exploited remotely by an unauthenticated attacker by sending specially crafted TCP packets to the targeted device.
“These smart meters communicate using a proprietary ION protocol over TCP port 7700, and packets received by the device are parsed by a state machine function,” Claroty explained in a blog post. “We found that It is possible to trigger the flaw during the packet-parsing process by the main state machine function by sending a crafted request. This can be done without authentication because the request is fully parsed before it is handled or authentication is checked.”
Claroty said its researchers identified two different exploitation paths — depending on the architecture of the targeted device — and two different CVE identifiers have been assigned.
One of them, CVE-2021-22714, is considered critical as it allows an attacker to cause the targeted meter to reboot (i.e. DoS condition) and possibly even to execute arbitrary code. The other one, CVE-2021-22713, can only be exploited to force the device to reboot and it has been assigned a high severity rating.
The vulnerabilities impact several PowerLogic ION device models and one PM model. Security updates for some of the impacted devices were released in July 2020, while others were patched in January and March 2021. Some of the impacted power meters will not receive patches as they are no longer supported.
Vulnerabilities affecting smart meters have been known to pose a risk to both consumers and utilities so it’s important that users of the affected Schneider Electric products apply the patches or mitigations to prevent potential attacks, particularly since information about the flaws has been made public.