ICS Advisory

Hospira Symbiq Infusion System Vulnerability

Last Revised
Alert Code


This advisory was originally posted to the US-CERT secure Portal library on June 23, 2015, and is being released to the NCCIC/ICS-CERT web site.

Independent researcher Billy Rios identified a vulnerability in Hospira’s Symbiq Infusion System, which can be exploited to remotely control the device, in conjunction with previously identified vulnerabilities.ICS-CERT web site: ICSA-15-161-01 Hospira Plum A+ and Symbiq Infusion Systems Vulnerabilities, https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/advisories/ICSA-15-161-01, web site last accessed June 23, 2015. Kyle Kamke of Ramparts LLC assisted in the development of the proof-of-exploit. Hospira has verified that this vulnerability only exists in the Symbiq Infusion System. Hospira has provided compensating measures to help mitigate risks associated with this vulnerability. As previously announced by Hospira in 2013, the Symbiq Infusion System would be retired on May 31, 2015, and will be fully removed from the market by December 2015.

This vulnerability could be exploited remotely.


The following Symbiq Infusion System versions are affected:

  • Symbiq Infusion System, Version 3.13 and prior versions.


Successful exploitation of this vulnerability, in conjunction with previously reported vulnerabilities,a could allow an attacker to remotely control the operation of the device, potentially impacting prescribed therapy and patient safety.

Impact to individual organizations depends on many factors that are unique to each organization. ICS-CERT recommends that organizations evaluate the impact of this vulnerability based on their operational environment and specific clinical usage.


Hospira is a US-based company that maintains offices in several countries around the world.

The affected product, the Symbiq Infusion System, is an intravenous pump that delivers medication to patients. The affected product is deployed across the Healthcare and Public Health Sector. The Symbiq Infusion System is used only in the US and Canada.



EXPOSED DANGEROUS METHOD OR FUNCTIONCWE-749: Exposed Dangerous Method or Function, http://cwe.mitre.org/data/definitions/749.html, web site last accessed June 23, 2015.

With remote access and elevated privileges, the Symbiq Infusion System can be remotely directed to perform unanticipated operations.

CVE-2015-3965NVD, http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2015-3965, NIST uses this advisory to create the CVE web site report. This web site will be active sometime after publication of this advisory. has been assigned to this vulnerability. A CVSS v2 base score of 7.1 has been assigned; the CVSS vector string is (AV:N/AC:M/Au:N/C:N/I:C/A:N).CVSS Calculator, http://nvd.nist.gov/cvss.cfm?version=2&vector=AV:N/AC:M/Au:N/C:N/I:C/A:N, web site last accessed June 23, 2015.



This vulnerability could be exploited remotely.


No known public exploits specifically target this vulnerability.


An attacker with medium skill would be able to exploit this vulnerability.


ICS-CERT strongly encourages asset owners to perform a risk assessment by examining their specific clinical use of the affected product in the host environment. ICS-CERT encourages asset owners to evaluate implementing the following defensive measures to protect against this and other cybersecurity risks.

  • Disconnect the affected product from the network. Disconnecting the affected product from the network will have operational impacts. Disconnecting the device will require drug libraries to be updated manually. Manual updates to each pump can be labor intensive and prone to entry error.
  • Ensure that unused ports are closed, to include Port 20/FTP and Port 23/TELNET.
  • Hospira strongly recommends that healthcare providers contact Hospira’s technical support to change the default password used to access Port 8443 or to close Port 8443. Contact Hospira’s technical support at 1-800-241-4002. Hospira is working directly with Symbiq customers to update the configuration of the pump to close access ports.
  • Monitor and log all network traffic attempting to reach the affected product via Port 20/FTP, Port 23/TELNET and Port 8443.
  • Use good design practices that include network segmentation. Use DMZs with properly configured firewalls to selectively control traffic and monitor traffic passed between zones and systems to identify anomalous activity. Use the static nature of these isolated environments to look for anomalous activities.
  • Maintain layered physical and logical security to implement defense-in-depth security practices for environments operating medical devices.
  • Isolate all medical devices from the Internet and untrusted systems.

For additional information about the vulnerability and compensating measures, contact Hospira’s technical support at 1-800-241-4002.

ICS-CERT reminds organizations to perform proper impact analysis and risk assessment prior to deploying defensive measures.

ICS-CERT also provides a section for recommended practices on the ICS-CERT web page at http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/content/recommended-practices. Several recommended practices are available for reading and download, including Improving Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity with Defense-in-Depth Strategies.

Additional mitigation guidance and recommended practices are publicly available in the ICS‑CERT Technical Information Paper, ICS-TIP-12-146-01B—Targeted Cyber Intrusion Detection and Mitigation Strategies, that is available for download from the ICS-CERT web site (www.ics-cert.org).

Organizations observing any suspected malicious activity should follow their established internal procedures and report their findings to ICS-CERT for tracking and correlation against other incidents.

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