Easing the Conscience with OPC UA: An Internet-Wide Study on Insecure Deployments


Due to increasing digitalization, formerly isolated industrial networks, e.g., for factory and process automation, move closer and closer to the Internet, mandating secure communication. However, securely setting up OPC UA, the prime candidate for secure industrial communication, is challenging due to a large variety of insecure options. To study whether Internet-facing OPC UA appliances are configured securely, we actively scan the IPv4 address space for publicly reachable OPC UA systems and assess the security of their configurations. We observe problematic security configurations such as missing access control (on 24% of hosts), disabled security functionality (24%), or use of deprecated cryptographic primitives (25%) on in total 92% of the reachable deployments. Furthermore, we discover several hundred devices in multiple autonomous systems sharing the same security certificate, opening the door for impersonation attacks. Overall, in this paper, we highlight commonly found security misconfigurations and underline the importance of appropriate configuration for security-featuring protocols.

Proceedings of the Internet Measurement Conference (IMC ‘20), October 27-29, 2020, Virtual Event, USA