"Evil PLC Attack" weaponizes PLCs to infect engineering workstations

Posted: Tue, 08/16/2022 - 6:06pm

Most attack scenarios against industrial installations, whether in manufacturing or in critical infrastructure, focus on compromising programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to tamper with the physical processes they control and automate. One way to get malicious code running on PLCs is to first compromise a workstation that engineers use to manage and deploy programs on them, but this can be a two-way street: A hijacked PLC can also be used to compromise engineering workstations, and this opens the door to powerful lateral movement attacks.

In a new paper released over the weekend, researchers from industrial control systems (ICS) cybersecurity firm Claroty documented proof-of-concept "Evil PLC Attacks" against engineering software from seven ICS manufacturers: Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, GE, B&R, Xinje, OVARRO, and Emerson.

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