SCADA Vulnerabilities & Exposures (SVE)

CRITIFENCE® SCADA Vulnerabilities and Exposures Database (SVE)

[SVE-729916939] Rockwell Automation RSLogix 500 AND RSLogix Micro File Parser Buffer Overflow Vulnerability

Date Type Platform Author EDB-ID CVE-ID OSVDB-ID Download App SIS Signature
2016-09-15SOFTWARERockwell Automation RSLogix Ariele Caltabiano (kimiya)N/A2016-5814N/AN/AN/A


# Rockwell Automation RSLogix 500 AND RSLogix Micro File Parser Buffer Overflow Vulnerability


This advisory was originally posted to the US-CERT secure Portal library on August 11, 2016, and is being released to the ICS-CERT web site.

Ariele Caltabiano (kimiya) working with Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative has identified a parser buffer overflow vulnerability in Rockwell Automation’s RSLogix Starter Lite. Rockwell Automation investigated the matter and found that it also affected RSLogix 500 and other versions of RSLogix Micro. Rockwell Automation has produced a patch to mitigate this vulnerability in Version 8.40.00


Rockwell Automation reports that the vulnerability affects the following products:

RSLogix Micro Starter Lite, all versions,
RSLogix Micro Developer, all versions,
RSLogix 500 Starter Edition, all versions,
RSLogix 500 Standard Edition, all versions, and
RSLogix 500 Professional Edition, all versions.


A successful attack may potentially allow malicious code to execute on the target computer at the same privilege level as the logged-in user. The impact to the user’s environment is highly dependent on both the type of malicious code included in the attack and the mitigations that the user may already employ.

Impact to individual organizations depends on many factors that are unique to each organization. NCCIC/ICS-CERT recommends that organizations evaluate the impact of this vulnerability based on their operational environment, architecture, and product implementation.


Rockwell Automation, which is a US-based company, provides industrial automation control and information products worldwide across a wide range of industries.

The affected products, RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro, are design and configuration software used with certain Rockwell Automation products. According to Rockwell Automation, the software is for use in systems deployed across several sectors, including Chemical, Critical Manufacturing, Food and Agriculture, Water and Wastewater Systems, and others. Rockwell Automation estimates that this product is used worldwide.




The discovered vulnerability exists in the code that opens and parses the RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro project files with an RSS extension. In order for attackers to exploit this vulnerability in RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro, they must create a malicious RSS file. The buffer overflow condition is exploited if an affected version of the product opens a malicious project file. If the attack is successful, the malicious code will run at the same privilege level as the user who is logged into the machine.

CVE-2016-5814 has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v3 base score of 8.6 has been calculated; the CVSS vector string is (CVSS:3.0/AV:L/AC:L/PR:N/UI:R/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H).



This vulnerability is not exploitable remotely and cannot be exploited without user interaction. The exploit is only triggered when a local user runs the vulnerable application and loads the malformed RSS file.


No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability.


Crafting a working exploit for this vulnerability would be easy. An exploit would require social engineering to convince the user to accept the malformed RSS file. Additional user interaction is needed to load the malformed file. This decreases the likelihood of a successful exploit.


Rockwell Automation recommends the following precautionary measures as additional risk mitigation strategies for this type of attack. If possible, employ multiple strategies simultaneously.

Users using affected versions of RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro are encouraged to apply the patch that addresses associated risk and includes added improvements to further harden the software and enhance its resilience against similar malicious attacks.

* RSLogix Micro version 8.40.00 or RSLogix 500 version 8.40.00: 
Apply patch KB878490, which can be found on Rockwell Automation’s web site at the following URL with a valid account:

* Do not open untrusted RSS files with RSLogix 500 and RSLogix Micro.
* Run all software as user, not as an administrator to minimize the impact of malicious code on the infected system.
* Use trusted software, software patches, and anti-virus/anti-malware programs, and interact only with trusted web sites and attachments.
* Employ training and awareness programs to educate users on the warning signs of a phishing or social engineering attack.
* Use of Microsoft AppLocker or other similar whitelisting application can help mitigate risk. Information on using AppLocker with Rockwell Automation products is available at the following URL with a valid account:
* Minimize network exposure for all control system devices and/or systems, and ensure that they are not accessible from the Internet.
* Locate control system networks and devices behind firewalls, and isolate them from the business network.
* When remote access is required, use secure methods, such as virtual private networks (VPNs), recognizing that VPNs may have vulnerabilities and should be updated to the most current version available. Also recognize that VPN is only as secure as the connected devices.

For more information on this issue, please see Rockwell Automation’s publication 898582 on its web site at: