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Identifying and Detecting Attacks in Industrial Control Systems

Tuptuk, Nilufer; (2019) Identifying and Detecting Attacks in Industrial Control Systems. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The integrity of industrial control systems (ICS) found in utilities, oil and natural gas pipelines, manufacturing plants and transportation is critical to national wellbeing and security. Such systems depend on hundreds of field devices to manage and monitor a physical process. Previously, these devices were specific to ICS but they are now being replaced by general purpose computing technologies and, increasingly, these are being augmented with Internet of Things (IoT) nodes. Whilst there are benefits to this approach in terms of cost and flexibility, it has attracted a wider community of adversaries. These include those with significant domain knowledge, such as those responsible for attacks on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities, a Steel Mill in Germany, and Ukraine’s power grid; however, non specialist attackers are becoming increasingly interested in the physical damage it is possible to cause. At the same time, the approach increases the number and range of vulnerabilities to which ICS are subject; regrettably, conventional techniques for analysing such a large attack space are inadequate, a cause of major national concern. In this thesis we introduce a generalisable approach based on evolutionary multiobjective algorithms to assist in identifying vulnerabilities in complex heterogeneous ICS systems. This is both challenging and an area that is currently lacking research. Our approach has been to review the security of currently deployed ICS systems, and then to make use of an internationally recognised ICS simulation testbed for experiments, assuming that the attacking community largely lack specific ICS knowledge. Using the simulator, we identified vulnerabilities in individual components and then made use of these to generate attacks. A defence against these attacks in the form of novel intrusion detection systems were developed, based on a range of machine learning models. Finally, this was further subject to attacks created using the evolutionary multiobjective algorithms, demonstrating, for the first time, the feasibility of creating sophisticated attacks against a well-protected adversary using automated mechanisms.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Identifying and Detecting Attacks in Industrial Control Systems
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10075263
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