On the significance of process comprehension for conducting targeted ICS attacks

B. Green, M. Krotofil, A. Abbasi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The exploitation of Industrial Control Systems (ICSs) has been described as both easy and impossible, where is the truth? Post-Stuxnet works have included a plethora of ICS focused cyber security research activities, with topics covering device maturity, network protocols, and overall cyber security culture. We often hear the notion of ICSs being highly vulnerable due to a lack of inbuilt security mechanisms, considered a low hanging fruit to a variety of low skilled threat actors. While there is substantial evidence to support such a notion, when considering targeted attacks on ICS, it is hard to believe an attacker with limited resources, such as a script kiddie or hacktivist, using publicly accessible tools and exploits alone, would have adequate knowledge and resources to achieve targeted operational process manipulation, while simultaneously evade detection. Through use of a testbed environment, this paper provides two practical examples based on a Man-In-The-Middle scenario, demonstrating the types of information an attacker would need obtain, collate, and comprehend, in order to begin targeted process manipulation and detection avoidance. This allows for a clearer view of associated challenges, and illustrate why targeted ICS exploitation might not be possible for every malicious actor.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCPS-SPC 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems Security and PrivaCy, co-located with CCS 2017
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages57-67
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-5394-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5394-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2017
EventCPS '17, 2017 Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems Security and Privacy
- Dallas, Texas
Duration: 3 Nov 20173 Nov 2017

Conference

ConferenceCPS '17, 2017 Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems Security and Privacy
Abbreviated titleCPS'17
CityDallas, Texas
Period3/11/173/11/17

Keywords

  • ICS
  • MITM
  • OT
  • Reconnaissance
  • SCADA

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