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Vulnerability Identified in Capsule Technologies SmartLinx Neuron 2 Medical Information Collection Devices

A high severity flaw has been identified in Capsule Technologies SmartLinx Neuron 2 medical information collection devices running version 6.9.1 of the software. SmartLinx Neuron 2 is a bedside mobile clinical computer that automatically collects vital signs data and connects to hospitals’ medical device information systems.

The flaw, tracked as CVE-2019-5024, is a restricted environment escape vulnerability due to the failure of a protection mechanism in kiosk mode. The flaw is present in all versions of Capsule Technologies SmartLinx Neuron 2 prior to version 9.0.

Kiosk mode is a restricted environment that prevents users from exiting the running applications and accessing the underlying operating system. By exploiting the flaw, an attacker can exit kiosk mode and access the underlying operating system with full administrative rights. That could allow the attacker to gain full control of a trusted device on the hospital’s internal network.

To exploit the flaw an attacker would need to have physical access to the device. The flaw could be exploited by connecting to the device though a USB port using a keyboard or other HID device. The flaw can be triggered using a specific series of keyboard inputs or, alternatively, by programming a USB Rubber Ducky with code that mimics human keyboard input.

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The flaw was identified by Patrick DeSantis of Cisco Talos who reported the vulnerability to Capsule Technologies. The flaw requires a low level of skill to exploit and public exploits for the flaw are in the public domain. The flaw has been assigned a CVSS v3 base score of 7.6 out of 10.

The flaw was identified in an unsupported version of the software, but that version is currently in use in many hospitals. Capsule Technologies has corrected the flaw in version 9.0 and above – the current version is 10.1.

All users of the devices have been advised to update to supported versions of the software – version 9.0 or a later version. Physical access to the devices should be restricted as far as is possible and they should remain outside of the organization’s security perimeter. It is also important to ensure that the devices are not implicitly trusted by internal systems. If possible, the USB ports should be disabled or obstructed, and logs should be checked to identify the use of any unauthorized peripherals on vulnerable devices.

Author: Steve Alder is the editor-in-chief of HIPAA Journal. Steve is responsible for editorial policy regarding the topics covered on HIPAA Journal. He is a specialist on healthcare industry legal and regulatory affairs, and has several years of experience writing about HIPAA and other related legal topics. Steve has developed a deep understanding of regulatory issues surrounding the use of information technology in the healthcare industry and has written hundreds of articles on HIPAA-related topics.