Heartbleed Superbug Found in Utility Monitoring Systems

B. Shifteh Somee/Shutterstock.com

Patches are available to fix the vulnerability.

Software that monitors utility plants and other operations at several military installations has been found to be affected by the recently discovered superbug Heartbleed, when configured a certain way, according to the Homeland Security Department and the software’s manufacturer.

"The latest release of Schneider Electric Wonderware Intelligence Version 1.5 SP1 is not susceptible to the OpenSSL vulnerability. However, users have been known to reinstall Tableau Server, the vulnerable third-party component that is affected. Therefore, Schneider Electric Wonderware has issued a patch and a security bulletin addressing this vulnerability in all versions," states a bulletin from the DHS Cyber Emergency Response Team. 

Exploits made by hackers "that target this vulnerability are known to be publicly available" on the Web, DHS said. Heartbleed is a defect in common Web encryption software that researchers discovered in early April. 

Wonderware servers, made by Schneider Electric, collect and analyze plant performance data through the Web. The company’s cyber team identified the bug in the third-party component.

It's not clear if military installations using the software are vulnerable. Contract documents show that the Army's Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state has relied on the software to monitor and control systems at a water treatment plant control center. Other Wonderwear users include the Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and the Army National Guard Bureau, which monitors fire alarms with the program, according to the documents.

There are patches available to fix the security hole, Schneider Electric and Homeland Security officials said. 

(Image via B. Shifteh Somee/Shutterstock.com)