Alexander Bolshev of Digital Security in Russia gave a great talk at S4x14 on exploiting vulnerabilities in the HART protocol and devices. His latest research is testing a large number of field devices accessible via the FDT Group’s Device Type Manager (DTM) protocol. According to the FDT Group, “DTM provides a unified structure for accessing device parameters, configuring and operating the devices, and diagnosing problems.”

There are over 2000 certified devices on the FDT Group site, and they consist of flow meters, level sensors, pressure sensors, temperatures sensors, positioners, etc.

As you might expect, Alexander found a number of vulnerabilities, and they are beginning to show up on ICS-CERT as vendors fix these problems. However, the more interesting aspect of the research is how his team efficiently tested a large number of DTM’s. Specifically 114 HART DTMs from 24 vendors that were used in 752 products. This represented a 10% sample of the HART DTMs. And the team had to do this in one month.

Watch the video to see the challenges and how they overcame them. The one that seemed quite nasty was “DeviceDTM will send the next command only when it gets the correct answer to the previous command”.