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2019-12-02
Ibarra, Jaime, Javed Butt, Usman, Do, Anh, Jahankhani, Hamid, Jamal, Arshad.  2019.  Ransomware Impact to SCADA Systems and its Scope to Critical Infrastructure. 2019 IEEE 12th International Conference on Global Security, Safety and Sustainability (ICGS3). :1–12.
SCADA systems are being constantly migrated to modern information and communication technologies (ICT) -based systems named cyber-physical systems. Unfortunately, this allows attackers to execute exploitation techniques into these architectures. In addition, ransomware insertion is nowadays the most popular attacking vector because it denies the availability of critical files and systems until attackers receive the demanded ransom. In this paper, it is analysed the risk impact of ransomware insertion into SCADA systems and it is suggested countermeasures addressed to the protection of SCADA systems and its components to reduce the impact of ransomware insertion.
2019-09-05
Panfili, M., Giuseppi, A., Fiaschetti, A., Al-Jibreen, H. B., Pietrabissa, A., Priscoli, F. Delli.  2018.  A Game-Theoretical Approach to Cyber-Security of Critical Infrastructures Based on Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning. 2018 26th Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation (MED). :460-465.

This paper presents a control strategy for Cyber-Physical System defense developed in the framework of the European Project ATENA, that concerns Critical Infrastructure (CI) protection. The aim of the controller is to find the optimal security configuration, in terms of countermeasures to implement, in order to address the system vulnerabilities. The attack/defense problem is modeled as a multi-agent general sum game, where the aim of the defender is to prevent the most damage possible by finding an optimal trade-off between prevention actions and their costs. The problem is solved utilizing Reinforcement Learning and simulation results provide a proof of the proposed concept, showing how the defender of the protected CI is able to minimize the damage caused by his her opponents by finding the Nash equilibrium of the game in the zero-sum variant, and, in a more general scenario, by driving the attacker in the position where the damage she/he can cause to the infrastructure is lower than the cost it has to sustain to enforce her/his attack strategy.

2019-07-01
Kumar, S., Gaur, N., Kumar, A..  2018.  Developing a Secure Cyber Ecosystem for SCADA Architecture. 2018 Second International Conference on Computing Methodologies and Communication (ICCMC). :559–562.

Advent of Cyber has converted the entire World into a Global village. But, due to vurneabilites in SCADA architecture [1] national assests are more prone to cyber attacks.. Cyber invasions have a catastrophic effect in the minds of the civilian population, in terms of states security system. A robust cyber security is need of the hour to protect the critical information infastructrue & critical infrastructure of a country. Here, in this paper we scrutinize cyber terrorism, vurneabilites in SCADA network systems [1], [2] and concept of cyber resilience to combat cyber attacks.

2019-03-28
Husák, Martin, Neshenko, Nataliia, Pour, Morteza Safaei, Bou-Harb, Elias, \v Celeda, Pavel.  2018.  Assessing Internet-Wide Cyber Situational Awareness of Critical Sectors. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security. :29:1-29:6.
In this short paper, we take a first step towards empirically assessing Internet-wide malicious activities generated from and targeted towards Internet-scale business sectors (i.e., financial, health, education, etc.) and critical infrastructure (i.e., utilities, manufacturing, government, etc.). Facilitated by an innovative and a collaborative large-scale effort, we have conducted discussions with numerous Internet entities to obtain rare and private information related to allocated IP blocks pertaining to the aforementioned sectors and critical infrastructure. To this end, we employ such information to attribute Internet-scale maliciousness to such sectors and realms, in an attempt to provide an in-depth analysis of the global cyber situational posture. We draw upon close to 16.8 TB of darknet data to infer probing activities (typically generated by malicious/infected hosts) and DDoS backscatter, from which we distill IP addresses of victims. By executing week-long measurements, we observed an alarming number of more than 11,000 probing machines and 300 DDoS attack victims hosted by critical sectors. We also generate rare insights related to the maliciousness of various business sectors, including financial, which typically do not report their hosted and targeted illicit activities for reputation-preservation purposes. While we treat the obtained results with strict confidence due to obvious sensitivity reasons, we postulate that such generated cyber threat intelligence could be shared with sector/critical infrastructure operators, backbone networks and Internet service providers to contribute to the overall threat remediation objective.
Varga, S., Brynielsson, J., Franke, U..  2018.  Information Requirements for National Level Cyber Situational Awareness. 2018 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM). :774-781.

As modern societies become more dependent on IT services, the potential impact both of adversarial cyberattacks and non-adversarial service management mistakes grows. This calls for better cyber situational awareness-decision-makers need to know what is going on. The main focus of this paper is to examine the information elements that need to be collected and included in a common operational picture in order for stakeholders to acquire cyber situational awareness. This problem is addressed through a survey conducted among the participants of a national information assurance exercise conducted in Sweden. Most participants were government officials and employees of commercial companies that operate critical infrastructure. The results give insight into information elements that are perceived as useful, that can be contributed to and required from other organizations, which roles and stakeholders would benefit from certain information, and how the organizations work with creating cyber common operational pictures today. Among findings, it is noteworthy that adversarial behavior is not perceived as interesting, and that the respondents in general focus solely on their own organization.

2019-03-11
Puesche, A., Bothe, D., Niemeyer, M., Sachweh, S., Pohlmann, N., Kunold, I..  2018.  Concept of Smart Building Cyber-physical Systems Including Tamper Resistant Endpoints. 2018 International IEEE Conference and Workshop in Óbuda on Electrical and Power Engineering (CANDO-EPE). :000127–000132.

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) and their Internet of Things (IoT) components are repeatedly subject to various attacks targeting weaknesses in their firmware. For that reason emerges an imminent demand for secure update mechanisms that not only include specific systems but cover all parts of the critical infrastructure. In this paper we introduce a theoretical concept for a secure CPS device update and verification mechanism and provide information on handling hardware-based security incorporating trusted platform modules (TPM) on those CPS devices. We will describe secure communication channels by state of the art technology and also integrity measurement mechanisms to ensure the system is in a known state. In addition, a multi-level fail-over concept is presented, ensuring continuous patching to minimize the necessity of restarting those systems.

2019-02-13
Irmak, E., Erkek, İ.  2018.  An overview of cyber-attack vectors on SCADA systems. 2018 6th International Symposium on Digital Forensic and Security (ISDFS). :1–5.

Most of the countries evaluate their energy networks in terms of national security and define as critical infrastructure. Monitoring and controlling of these systems are generally provided by Industrial Control Systems (ICSs) and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Therefore, this study focuses on the cyber-attack vectors on SCADA systems to research the threats and risks targeting them. For this purpose, TCP/IP based protocols used in SCADA systems have been determined and analyzed at first. Then, the most common cyber-attacks are handled systematically considering hardware-side threats, software-side ones and the threats for communication infrastructures. Finally, some suggestions are given.

2018-09-28
Umer, Muhammad Azmi, Mathur, Aditya, Junejo, Khurum Nazir, Adepu, Sridhar.  2017.  Integrating Design and Data Centric Approaches to Generate Invariants for Distributed Attack Detection. Proceedings of the 2017 Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems Security and PrivaCy. :131–136.
Process anomaly is used for detecting cyber-physical attacks on critical infrastructure such as plants for water treatment and electric power generation. Identification of process anomaly is possible using rules that govern the physical and chemical behavior of the process within a plant. These rules, often referred to as invariants, can be derived either directly from plant design or from the data generated in an operational. However, for operational legacy plants, one might consider a data-centric approach for the derivation of invariants. The study reported here is a comparison of design-centric and data-centric approaches to derive process invariants. The study was conducted using the design of, and the data generated from, an operational water treatment plant. The outcome of the study supports the conjecture that neither approach is adequate in itself, and hence, the two ought to be integrated.
2018-03-05
Sugumar, G., Mathur, A..  2017.  Testing the Effectiveness of Attack Detection Mechanisms in Industrial Control Systems. 2017 IEEE International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability and Security Companion (QRS-C). :138–145.

Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are found in critical infrastructure such as for power generation and water treatment. When security requirements are incorporated into an ICS, one needs to test the additional code and devices added do improve the prevention and detection of cyber attacks. Conducting such tests in legacy systems is a challenge due to the high availability requirement. An approach using Timed Automata (TA) is proposed to overcome this challenge. This approach enables assessment of the effectiveness of an attack detection method based on process invariants. The approach has been demonstrated in a case study on one stage of a 6- stage operational water treatment plant. The model constructed captured the interactions among components in the selected stage. In addition, a set of attacks, attack detection mechanisms, and security specifications were also modeled using TA. These TA models were conjoined into a network and implemented in UPPAAL. The models so implemented were found effective in detecting the attacks considered. The study suggests the use of TA as an effective tool to model an ICS and study its attack detection mechanisms as a complement to doing so in a real plant-operational or under design.

2018-02-02
Härtig, H., Roitzsch, M., Weinhold, C., Lackorzynski, A..  2017.  Lateral Thinking for Trustworthy Apps. 2017 IEEE 37th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS). :1890–1899.

The growing computerization of critical infrastructure as well as the pervasiveness of computing in everyday life has led to increased interest in secure application development. We observe a flurry of new security technologies like ARM TrustZone and Intel SGX, but a lack of a corresponding architectural vision. We are convinced that point solutions are not sufficient to address the overall challenge of secure system design. In this paper, we outline our take on a trusted component ecosystem of small individual building blocks with strong isolation. In our view, applications should no longer be designed as massive stacks of vertically layered frameworks, but instead as horizontal aggregates of mutually isolated components that collaborate across machine boundaries to provide a service. Lateral thinking is needed to make secure systems going forward.

2018-01-16
Pappa, A. C., Ashok, A., Govindarasu, M..  2017.  Moving target defense for securing smart grid communications: Architecture, implementation evaluation. 2017 IEEE Power Energy Society Innovative Smart Grid Technologies Conference (ISGT). :1–5.

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition(SCADA) communications are often subjected to various sophisticated cyber-attacks mostly because of their static system characteristics, enabling an attacker for easier profiling of the target system(s) and thereby impacting the Critical Infrastructures(CI). In this Paper, a novel approach to mitigate such static vulnerabilities is proposed by implementing a Moving Target Defense (MTD) strategy in a power grid SCADA environment, leveraging the existing communication network with an end-to-end IP-Hopping technique among trusted peers. The main contribution involves the design and implementation of MTD Architecture on Iowa State's PowerCyber testbed for targeted cyber-attacks, without compromising the availability of a SCADA system and studying the delay and throughput characteristics for different hopping rates in a realistic environment. Finally, we study two cases and provide mitigations for potential weaknesses of the proposed mechanism. Also, we propose to incorporate port mutation to further increase attack complexity as part of future work.

Ulrich, J., Drahos, J., Govindarasu, M..  2017.  A symmetric address translation approach for a network layer moving target defense to secure power grid networks. 2017 Resilience Week (RWS). :163–169.

This paper will suggest a robust method for a network layer Moving Target Defense (MTD) using symmetric packet scheduling rules. The MTD is implemented and tested on a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) network testbed. This method is shown to be efficient while providing security benefits to the issues faced by the static nature of SCADA networks. The proposed method is an automated tool that may provide defense in depth when be used in conjunction with other MTDs and traditional security devices.

2017-12-28
Obenshain, D., Tantillo, T., Babay, A., Schultz, J., Newell, A., Hoque, M. E., Amir, Y., Nita-Rotaru, C..  2016.  Practical Intrusion-Tolerant Networks. 2016 IEEE 36th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS). :45–56.
As the Internet becomes an important part of the infrastructure our society depends on, it is crucial to construct networks that are able to work even when part of the network is compromised. This paper presents the first practical intrusion-tolerant network service, targeting high-value applications such as monitoring and control of global clouds and management of critical infrastructure for the power grid. We use an overlay approach to leverage the existing IP infrastructure while providing the required resiliency and timeliness. Our solution overcomes malicious attacks and compromises in both the underlying network infrastructure and in the overlay itself. We deploy and evaluate the intrusion-tolerant overlay implementation on a global cloud spanning East Asia, North America, and Europe, and make it publicly available.
2017-11-27
Settanni, G., Shovgenya, Y., Skopik, F., Graf, R., Wurzenberger, M., Fiedler, R..  2016.  Correlating cyber incident information to establish situational awareness in Critical Infrastructures. 2016 14th Annual Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust (PST). :78–81.

Protecting Critical Infrastructures (CIs) against contemporary cyber attacks has become a crucial as well as complex task. Modern attack campaigns, such as Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), leverage weaknesses in the organization's business processes and exploit vulnerabilities of several systems to hit their target. Although their life-cycle can last for months, these campaigns typically go undetected until they achieve their goal. They usually aim at performing data exfiltration, cause service disruptions and can also undermine the safety of humans. Novel detection techniques and incident handling approaches are therefore required, to effectively protect CI's networks and timely react to this type of threats. Correlating large amounts of data, collected from a multitude of relevant sources, is necessary and sometimes required by national authorities to establish cyber situational awareness, and allow to promptly adopt suitable countermeasures in case of an attack. In this paper we propose three novel methods for security information correlation designed to discover relevant insights and support the establishment of cyber situational awareness.

2017-09-01
Dong Jin, Illinois Institute of Technology, Zhiyi Li, Illinois Institute of Technology, Christopher Hannon, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chen Chen, Argonne National Laboratory, Jianhui Wang, Argonne National Laboratory, Mohammad Shahidehpour, Illinois Institute of Technology, Cheol Won Lee, National Research Institute, South Korea.  2017.  Toward a Cyber Resilient and Secure Microgrid Using Software-Defined Networking. IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid. 8(5)

To build a resilient and secure microgrid in the face of growing cyber-attacks and cyber-mistakes, we present a software-defined networking (SDN)-based communication network architecture for microgrid operations. We leverage the global visibility, direct networking controllability, and programmability offered by SDN to investigate multiple security applications, including self-healing communication network management, real-time and uncertainty-aware communication network verification, and specification-based intrusion detection. We also expand a novel cyber-physical testing and evaluation platform that combines a power distribution system simulator (for microgrid energy services) and an SDN emulator with a distributed control environment (for microgrid communications). Experimental results demonstrate that the SDN-based communication architecture and applications can significantly enhance the resilience and security of microgrid operations against the realization of various cyber threats.

2017-03-07
Macdonald, M., Frank, R., Mei, J., Monk, B..  2015.  Identifying digital threats in a hacker web forum. 2015 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM). :926–933.

Information threatening the security of critical infrastructures are exchanged over the Internet through communication platforms, such as online discussion forums. This information can be used by malicious hackers to attack critical computer networks and data systems. Much of the literature on the hacking of critical infrastructure has focused on developing typologies of cyber-attacks, but has not examined the communication activities of the actors involved. To address this gap in the literature, the language of hackers was analyzed to identify potential threats against critical infrastructures using automated analysis tools. First, discussion posts were collected from a selected hacker forum using a customized web-crawler. Posts were analyzed using a parts of speech tagger, which helped determine a list of keywords used to query the data. Next, a sentiment analysis tool scored these keywords, which were then analyzed to determine the effectiveness of this method.

2016-11-18
2016-11-14
Dong Jin, Illinois Institute of Tecnology.  2016.  Towards a Secure and Resilient Industrial Control System with Software-Defined Networking.

Modern industrial control systems (ICSes) are increasingly adopting Internet technology to boost control efficiency, which unfortunately opens up a new frontier for cyber-security. People have typically applied existing Internet security techniques, such as firewalls, or anti-virus or anti-spyware software. However, those security solutions can only provide fine-grained protection at single devices. To address this, we design a novel software-defined networking (SDN) architecture that offers the global visibility of a control network infrastructure, and we investigate innovative SDN-based applications with the focus of ICS security, such as network verification and self-healing phasor measurement unit (PMU) networks. We are also conducting rigorous evaluation using the IIT campus microgrid as well as a high-fidelity testbed combining network emulation and power system simulation.

Illinois Lablet Information Trust Institute, Joint Trust and Security/Science of Security Seminar, by Dong (Kevin) Jin, March 15, 2016.

2016-09-16
Robert Zager, John Zager.  2016.  Why We Will Continue to Lose the Cyber War. Mad Scientist Conference 2016.

The United States is losing the cyberwar. We are losing the cyberwar because cyber defenses apply the wrong philosophy to the wrong operating environment. In order to be effective, future cyber defenses must be viewed in the context of an engagement between human adversaries.

2015-11-17
Zhenqi Huang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Yu Wang, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sayan Mitra, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Geir Dullerud, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  2015.  Controller Synthesis for Linear Time-varying Systems with Adversaries.

We present a controller synthesis algorithm for a discrete time reach-avoid problem in the presence of adversaries. Our model of the adversary captures typical malicious attacks en- visioned on cyber-physical systems such as sensor spoofing, controller corruption, and actuator intrusion. After formu- lating the problem in a general setting, we present a sound and complete algorithm for the case with linear dynamics and an adversary with a budget on the total L2-norm of its actions. The algorithm relies on a result from linear control theory that enables us to decompose and precisely compute the reachable states of the system in terms of a symbolic simulation of the adversary-free dynamics and the total uncertainty induced by the adversary. With this de- composition, the synthesis problem eliminates the universal quantifier on the adversary’s choices and the symbolic con- troller actions can be effectively solved using an SMT solver. The constraints induced by the adversary are computed by solving second-order cone programmings. The algorithm is later extended to synthesize state-dependent controller and to generate attacks for the adversary. We present prelimi- nary experimental results that show the effectiveness of this approach on several example problems.

2015-05-05
Okathe, T., Heydari, S.S., Sood, V., El-khatib, K..  2014.  Unified multi-critical infrastructure communication architecture. Communications (QBSC), 2014 27th Biennial Symposium on. :178-183.

Recent events have brought to light the increasingly intertwined nature of modern infrastructures. As a result much effort is being put towards protecting these vital infrastructures without which modern society suffers dire consequences. These infrastructures, due to their intricate nature, behave in complex ways. Improving their resilience and understanding their behavior requires a collaborative effort between the private sector that operates these infrastructures and the government sector that regulates them. This collaboration in the form of information sharing requires a new type of information network whose goal is in two parts to enable infrastructure operators share status information among interdependent infrastructure nodes and also allow for the sharing of vital information concerning threats and other contingencies in the form of alerts. A communication model that meets these requirements while maintaining flexibility and scalability is presented in this paper.
 

Major, S., Fekovic, E..  2014.  Securing intelligent substations: Real-time situational awareness. Energy Conference (ENERGYCON), 2014 IEEE International. :711-715.

A system implementing real-time situational awareness through discovery, prevention, detection, response, audit, and management capabilities is seen as central to facilitating the protection of critical infrastructure systems. The effectiveness of providing such awareness technologies for electrical distribution companies is being evaluated in a series of field trials: (i) Substation Intrusion Detection / Prevention System (IDPS) and (ii) Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) System. These trials will help create a realistic case study on the effectiveness of such technologies with the view of forming a framework for critical infrastructure cyber security defense systems of the future.
 

Jiankun Hu, Pota, H.R., Song Guo.  2014.  Taxonomy of Attacks for Agent-Based Smart Grids. Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on. 25:1886-1895.

Being the most important critical infrastructure in Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs), a smart grid exhibits the complicated nature of large scale, distributed, and dynamic environment. Taxonomy of attacks is an effective tool in systematically classifying attacks and it has been placed as a top research topic in CPS by a National Science Foundation (NSG) Workshop. Most existing taxonomy of attacks in CPS are inadequate in addressing the tight coupling of cyber-physical process or/and lack systematical construction. This paper attempts to introduce taxonomy of attacks of agent-based smart grids as an effective tool to provide a structured framework. The proposed idea of introducing the structure of space-time and information flow direction, security feature, and cyber-physical causality is innovative, and it can establish a taxonomy design mechanism that can systematically construct the taxonomy of cyber attacks, which could have a potential impact on the normal operation of the agent-based smart grids. Based on the cyber-physical relationship revealed in the taxonomy, a concrete physical process based cyber attack detection scheme has been proposed. A numerical illustrative example has been provided to validate the proposed physical process based cyber detection scheme.
 

2015-05-01
Chen, K.Y., Heckel-Jones, C.A.C., Maupin, N.G., Rubin, S.M., Bogdanor, J.M., Zhenyu Guo, Haimes, Y.Y..  2014.  Risk analysis of GPS-dependent critical infrastructure system of systems. Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium (SIEDS), 2014. :316-321.

The Department of Energy seeks to modernize the U.S. electric grid through the SmartGrid initiative, which includes the use of Global Positioning System (GPS)-timing dependent electric phasor measurement units (PMUs) for continual monitoring and automated controls. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is concerned with the associated risks of increased utilization of GPS timing in the electricity subsector, which could in turn affect a large number of electricity-dependent Critical Infrastructure (CI) sectors. Exploiting the vulnerabilities of GPS systems in the electricity subsector can result to large-scale and costly blackouts. This paper seeks to analyze the risks of increased dependence of GPS into the electric grid through the introduction of PMUs and provides a systems engineering perspective to the GPS-dependent System of Systems (S-o-S) created by the SmartGrid initiative. The team started by defining and modeling the S-o-S followed by usage of a risk analysis methodology to identify and measure risks and evaluate solutions to mitigating the effects of the risks. The team expects that the designs and models resulting from the study will prove useful in terms of determining both current and future risks to GPS-dependent CIs sectors along with the appropriate countermeasures as the United States moves towards a SmartGrid system.

Shipman, C.M., Hopkinson, K.M., Lopez, J..  2015.  Con-Resistant Trust for Improved Reliability in a Smart-Grid Special Protection System. Power Delivery, IEEE Transactions on. 30:455-462.

This paper applies a con-resistant trust mechanism to improve the performance of a communications-based special protection system to enhance its effectiveness and resiliency. Smart grids incorporate modern information technologies to increase reliability and efficiency through better situational awareness. However, with the benefits of this new technology come the added risks associated with threats and vulnerabilities to the technology and to the critical infrastructure it supports. The research in this paper uses con-resistant trust to quickly identify malicious or malfunctioning (untrustworthy) protection system nodes to mitigate instabilities. The con-resistant trust mechanism allows protection system nodes to make trust assessments based on the node's cooperative and defective behaviors. These behaviors are observed via frequency readings which are prediodically reported. The trust architecture is tested in experiments by comparing a simulated special protection system with a con-resistant trust mechanism to one without the mechanism via an analysis of the variance statistical model. Simulation results show promise for the proposed con-resistant trust mechanism.