Scada security

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Discusses security vulnerabilities in SCADA systems

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Scada security

  1. 1. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 1 SCADA systems security
  2. 2. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 2 24/7 infrastructure availability • The infrastructure controlled by SCADA systems and PLCs often has to be continuously available and must operate as expected
  3. 3. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 3 Continuous operation • In some cases, it may be very disruptive to switch off PLC- controlled equipment as it is impossible to predict when the system will be required
  4. 4. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 4 Critical SCADA systems • Failure of controlled systems can lead to direct loss of life due to equipment failure or indirect losses due to failure of the critical infrastructure controlled by SCADA systems • SCADA must therefore be dependable – Safety and reliability – Security
  5. 5. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 5 SCADA safety and reliability • SCADA safety and reliability – Needs specific safety analysis techniques for PLCs because they are programmed in a different way (ladder logic) – SCADA systems are designed with redundancy and backup, which contributes to the availability of these systems
  6. 6. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 6 SCADA security
  7. 7. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 7 SCADA legacy systems • Security through isolation – SCADA systems, historically, were unconcerned with security because they were isolated systems • Security through obscurity – Non-standard programming languages and protocols used.
  8. 8. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 8 Security through isolation • If a system is not connected to the Internet, then it cannot be penetrated by attacks from the Internet • This is the so-called ‘air gap’ between the SCADA system and the rest of the world
  9. 9. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 9 Maroochy Water Breach • The Maroochy Water Breach (see video) was a cyberattack on a sewage treatment system in Australia carried out by an insider
  10. 10. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 10 Security through obscurity • Approach to security that is based on the fact that information about a system is not widely known or available so the assumption is that few people can successfully attack the system from outside
  11. 11. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 11 Security through obscurity • Susceptible to insider attack from those who know the information inside the organization • SCADA systems are sold globally – therefore information is available to other countries who may be potentially hostile • Information on SCADA systems can be stolen and used by attackers
  12. 12. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 12 SCADA connectivity • 3rd generation SCADA systems are now reliant on standard IT technologies and protocols (Microsoft Windows, TCP/IP, web browsers, organisational wireless networks, etc.) • Integrated with older SCADA systems
  13. 13. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 13 Internet-based SCADA
  14. 14. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 14 SCADA legacy systems • There are a huge number of 2nd generation SCADA systems that are still in use and are likely to remain in use for many years – Infrastructure systems can have a 20+ year lifetime • However, these are now being ‘updated’ with new equipment which is network-connected • These older legacy systems were developed without security awareness and so are particularly vulnerable to attack
  15. 15. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 15 The myth of the ‘air gap’ • Direct connections to vendors for maintenance, stock ordering etc. • Connected to enterprise systems, which in turn are on the Internet.
  16. 16. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 16 The myth of the air gap • PCs used by operators may be multi- functional and internet connected • Operators transfer information using USB drives
  17. 17. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 17 SCADA vulnerabilities
  18. 18. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 18 SCADA security vulnerabilities • Weak passwords • Open to port scanning to discover SCADA systems on network • Lack of input validation –buffer overflow and SQL poisoning • Unencrypted network traffic
  19. 19. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 19 SCADA security challenges • SCADA systems and PLC software is normally developed by engineering companies with very limited experience of developing secure systems • The system developers are usually domain experts (oil and gas engineers, power engineers, etc.) rather than software engineers. • They may have had no training in security techniques.
  20. 20. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 20 SCADA security challenges • Not always possible to use standard security tools and techniques: – It may not be possible to install anti-virus protection on process control systems, owing to the lack of processor power on legacy systems, the age of operating systems or the lack of vendor certification.
  21. 21. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 21 SCADA security challenges • Security testing on process control systems must also be approached with extreme caution – security scanning can seriously affect the operation of many control devices. • There are sometimes few opportunities to take the systems off-line for routine testing, patching and maintenance.
  22. 22. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 22 Improving SCADA security • Government and industry reports to raise awareness of SCADA security issues • Establishment of bodies specifically concerned with infrastructure protection who can advise on SCADA system security
  23. 23. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 23 Improving SCADA security • Better security education and training for SCADA developers • Need for regulators to become involved – security certification
  24. 24. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 24 © David Shankbone 2012
  25. 25. SCADA security, 2013 Slide 25 Summary • Government organisations are seriously concerned about the vulnerability of SCADA systems to cyberattacks and the consequences for our national infrastructure • SCADA systems connected to internet so vulnerable to external attack • SCADA systems are often old systems that were built without security concerns – therefore are vulnerable to external attack

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