Hackers Exploit Unpatched Vulnerabilities of Water Pump Controllers

May 5, 2023

The security of critical infrastructure systems has always been a concern for security experts, and recent reports indicate that unpatched security flaws have exposed water pump controllers to remote hacker attacks. Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the security of water pump controllers that could allow cybercriminals to remotely take control of the water pumps and cause disruptions in water supply systems. This could lead to significant economic and social disruptions, affecting millions of people who depend on these systems for their daily needs.

The water pump controllers in question are used to control and monitor the flow of water in water supply systems and are widely used in various industries, including agriculture, public water supply, and wastewater treatment plants.

What Contributed to the Hacking of Water Pumps Controllers?

According to the researchers, the vulnerability is caused by the lack of encryption and authentication protocols in the communication channels used by the water pump controllers. This allows attackers to intercept and manipulate the commands sent to the controllers, leading to unauthorized access and control. The researchers also found that some of the controllers use default login credentials that can be easily guessed by attackers, making them even more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

In a recent incident, ProPump and Controls discovered numerous flaws in the Osprey Pump Controller, a water pumping system. Cross-site request forgery (CSRF), authentication bypass, cross-site scripting (XSS), command injection, backdoor access, file disclosure, and session hijacking concerns are among the several sorts of vulnerabilities. The CISA also released an advisory regarding this danger.

What Next?

The researchers have advised users of water pump controllers to implement additional security measures to protect their systems, including updating the firmware and changing default login credentials. Using a robust, end-to-end vulnerability management tool like SecurityShield is key for continuous risk reduction and comprehensive security protection. You may also like to read our blog on how to adopt continuous vigilance as a standard for risk management.

In conclusion, the discovery of unpatched security flaws in water pump controllers is a significant concern for the security of critical infrastructure systems. It is important for manufacturers and users of water pump controllers to take immediate steps to implement proper security measures to protect against cyber-attacks. The discovery of this vulnerability highlights the need for stronger security measures in critical infrastructure systems and the importance of regularly updating and patching software to prevent security breaches.

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