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RSLinx Classic EDS Wizard buffer overflow vulnerability

Vulnerability Note VU#127584

Original Release Date: 2011-06-02 | Last Revised: 2011-08-18


Rockwell Automation RSLinx Classic EDS Hardware Installation Tool contains a buffer overflow vulnerability.


According to Rockwell Automation's website: RSLinx Classic provides plant-floor device connectivity for a wide variety of Rockwell Software applications such as RSLogix™ 5/500/5000 and RSView32. The EDS Hardware Installation Tool (RSHWare.exe) that comes bundled with RSLinx Classic contains a buffer overflow vulnerability while parsing improperly formatted EDS files.


An attacker could exploit the vulnerability by tricking a user into opening a crafted .eds file, causing EDS Hardware Installation Tool to crash leading to possible execution of arbitrary code.


Apply an Update

According to Rockwell Automation's security advisory:
Rockwell Automation recommends concerned customers take the following immediate steps to mitigate risk associated with the reported vulnerability:
1. Restrict physical access to the computer.
2. Establish policies and procedures such that only authorized individuals have administrative rights on the computer.
3. Obtain product EDS files from trusted sources (e.g. product vendor)
4. Apply the Rockwell Automation issued Patch Aid

According to Rockwell Automation's security advisory:

Customers who are concerned about this reported vulnerability should recognize that to exploit it would require gaining physical access to the target computer, a user with
administrator privileges and execution of the EDS Hardware Installation Tool in order to load an improperly formatted EDS file.

Use the Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit

The Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) can be used to help prevent exploitation of this and other vulnerabilities.

Enable DEP in Microsoft Windows

Consider enabling Data Execution Prevention (DEP) in supported versions of Windows. DEP should not be treated as a complete workaround, but it can mitigate the execution of attacker-supplied code in some cases. Microsoft has published detailed technical information about DEP in Security Research & Defense blog posts "Understanding DEP as a mitigation technology" part 1 and part 2. DEP should be used in conjunction with the application of patches or other mitigations described in this document.

Note that when relying on DEP for exploit mitigation, it is important to use a system that supports Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) as well. ASLR is not supported by Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 or earlier. ASLR was introduced with Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Please see the Microsoft SRD blog entry: On the effectiveness of DEP and ASLR for more details.

Vendor Information

This vulnerability is present in version and earlier versions of the EDS Hardware Installation Tool (RSHWare.exe).


Rockwell Automation Affected

Notified:  April 25, 2011 Updated: June 01, 2011



Vendor Statement

Rockwell Automation has issued a software patch for the EDS Hardware Installation Tool that addresses this buffer overflow vulnerability. When applied, the patch replaces the RSEds.dll file with the modified version. Future releases of RSLinx Classic, starting with version 2.58 will include this modified version of the required files.

Vendor Information

We are not aware of further vendor information regarding this vulnerability.

Vendor References

CVSS Metrics

Group Score Vector



This vulnerability was found by Rockwell Automation's internal team and additionally by Michael Orlando working for CERT/CC.

This document was written by Michael Orlando.

Other Information

CVE IDs: CVE-2011-2530
Severity Metric: 0.03
Date Public: 2011-05-31
Date First Published: 2011-06-02
Date Last Updated: 2011-08-18 14:25 UTC
Document Revision: 32

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