Prof. Craig Valli - Edith Cowan University - Defending critical infrastructure from electronic cyber threats


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Prof. Craig Valli delivered the presentation at the 2014 ADM Cyber Security Summit.

The 2014 ADM Cyber Security Summit focused on “Combatting Emerging and increasingly sophisticated cyber threats” both domestically and internationally, and showcased relevant organisational case studies and supporting research from academia.

For more information about the event, please visit:

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Prof. Craig Valli - Edith Cowan University - Defending critical infrastructure from electronic cyber threats

  1. 1. Defending critical infrastructure from electronic cyber threats By Professor Craig Valli
  2. 2. What is CI? “Any system(s) that supports production or distribution of societal needs” or Water + Food + Electricity/Fuel + Communications + Payment = Limited Chaos Else
  3. 3. The landscape “Google Building Management System Hack Highlights SCADA Security Challenges” ”In the first half of 2013, the energy sector was the fifth most targeted sector worldwide, experiencing 7.6 percent of all cyber attacks” “The SCADA Strangelove project has identified more than 150 zero- day vulnerabilities in SCADA, ICS and PLCs, with five percent of those being “dangerous remote code execution holes.”
  4. 4. The landscape • US ICS CERT 2013 – 181 reports – 177 “reals”
  5. 5. What does it all run on? • Legacy IT Systems • Legacy “Proprietary” Control Systems • Legacy Protocols • Legacy Humans
  6. 6. Legacy IT Systems • The Sun still shines, DOS is still not denied NT well past new, and all the Win eXs e.g Win3.X, Win9X, Win200X, WinXP • Linux < 2.4 • Some of these are 30+ • Hardware…ouch • Vendor…driven lock in
  7. 7. Legacy “Proprietary” Control Systems • Frankenstein engineering – no new parts, recycling old parts • Security via obscurity…has been fully achieved! • Licensed Wireless? • IT systems lock in • EOL as new?
  8. 8. Legacy Protocols • Designed by Methuselah and coded by Moses, some of these are ancient. • Developed for safe, CLOSED, STABLE systems or environments.. not the Internet enabled world • Good news some have new secure “upgrades”
  9. 9. • Most “human systems” are dysfunctional about the management and risk in these systems • Those darn USBs can stux you up! • Different world views - CIA vs AIC Legacy Humans
  10. 10. Some fixes • We largely are dealing with a “known known” – Isolation of critical networks essential – Good packet filters/Rate Limiting/Protocol bounding/checking – IDS signatures work • Some IT infrastructures can be virtualised • Upgrade protocols and systems • Advanced countermeasures – honeypots, app firewalls.
  11. 11. Some fixes • Humans – Management needs to hear about BUSINESS RISK, not about the Farnarkle 3500 Model 2 – Demarcations need to be clearer – Run a desk exercise or ten! – Get external help…CERT – Education
  12. 12. Conclusion • Eminently fixable! - some simple changes such as detachment and/or proper segregation can solve many problems. • Look at alternate channels/methods for crossing boundaries for “needed” data • Human issues need constant conversation • Actively report to your vendors and • Finally, THINK will this still be usable and supportable in 30 years time….
  13. 13. Questions