IEEE Systems Journal, vol. 12, issue 2, IEEE, pp. 1778-1792, 06/2018. DOI (I.F.: 4.463)
Current Critical Infrastructures (CIs) are complex interconnected industrial systems that, in recent years, have incorporated information and communications technologies such as connection to the Internet and commercial off-the-shelf components. This makes them easier to operate and maintain, but exposes them to the threats and attacks that inundate conventional networks and systems. This paper contains a comprehensive study on the main stealth attacks that threaten CIs, with a special focus on Critical Information Infrastructures (CIIs). This type of attack is characterized by an adversary who is able to finely tune his actions to avoid detection while pursuing his objectives. To provide a complete analysis of the scope and potential dangers of stealth attacks we determine and analyze their stages and range, and we design a taxonomy to illustrate the threats to CIs, offering an overview of the applicable countermeasures against these attacks. From our analysis we understand that these types of attacks, due to the interdependent nature of CIs, pose a grave danger to critical systems where the threats can easily cascade down to the interconnected systems.
Cyber-Physical Systems: Foundations, Principles and Applications, no. Intelligent Data-Centric Systems, Academic Press, pp. 305 - 317, 2017. DOI
Abstract Cyber-physical systems (CPSs), integrated in critical infrastructures, could provide the minimal services that traditional situational awareness (SA) systems demand. However, their application in SA solutions for the protection of large control distributions against unforeseen faults may be insufficient. Dynamic protection measures have to be provided not only to locally detect unplanned deviations but also to prevent, respond, and restore from these deviations. The provision of these services as an integral part of the SA brings about a new research field known as wide-area situational awareness (WASA), highly dependent on CPSs for control from anywhere across multiple interconnections, and at any time. Thus, we review the state-of-the art of this new paradigm, exploring the different preventive and corrective measures considering the heterogeneity of CPSs, resulting in a guideline for the construction of automated WASA systems.
Security Solutions and Applied Cryptography in Smart Grid Communications, IGI Global, USA, IGI Global, pp. 137-158, 2017. DOI
Transparency in control transactions under a secure network architecture is a key topic that must be discussed when aspects related to interconnection between heterogeneous cyber-physical systems (CPSs) arise. The interconnection of these systems can be addressed through an enforcement policy system responsible for managing access control according to the contextual conditions. However, this architecture is not always adequate to ensure a rapid interoperability in extreme crisis situations, and can require an interconnection strategy that permits the timely authorized access from anywhere at any time. To do this, a set of interconnection strategies through the Internet must be studied to explore the ability of control entities to connect to the remote CPSs and expedite their operations, taking into account the context conditions. This research constitutes the contribution of this chapter, where a set of control requirements and interoperability properties are identified to discern the most suitable interconnection strategies.
The 21st European Symposium on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS 2016), vol. 9879, Springer, pp. 471-489, 2016.
Automatic restoration of control wireless networks based on dynamic cyber-physical systems has become a hot topic in recent years, since most of their elements tend to have serious vulnerabilities that may be exploited by attackers. In fact, any exploitation may rapidly extend to the entire control network due to its problem of non-locality, where control properties of a system and its structural controllability can disintegrate over time. Unfortunately, automated self-healing processes may become costly procedures in which the reliability of the strategies and the time-critical of any recovery of the control can become key factors to re-establish the control properties in due time. This operational need is precisely the aim of this paper, in which four reachability-based recovery strategies from a thereotical point of view are proposed so as to find the best option/s in terms of optimization, robustness and complexity. To do this, new definitions related to structural controllability in relation to the type of distribution of the network and its control load capacity are given in this paper, resulting in an interesting practical study.
Computers and Electrical Engineering, vol. 47, issue October, Elsevier, pp. 299-317, 2015. DOI (I.F.: 1.084)
Current Critical Infrastructures (CIs) need intelligent automatic active reaction mechanisms to protect their critical processes against cyber attacks or system anomalies, and avoid the disruptive consequences of cascading failures between interdependent and interconnected systems. In this paper we study the Intrusion Detection, Prevention and Response Systems (IDPRS) that can offer this type of protection mechanisms, their constituting elements and their applicability to critical contexts. We design a methodological framework determining the essential elements present in the IDPRS, while evaluating each of their sub-components in terms of adequacy for critical contexts. We review the different types of active and passive countermeasures available, categorizing them and assessing whether or not they are suitable for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP). Through our study we look at different reaction systems and learn from them how to better create IDPRS solutions for CIP.
9th International Conference on Risks and Security of Internet and Systems , vol. 8924, Springer International Publishing, pp. 17-34, 04/2015. DOI
Anomaly-based detection applied in strongly interdependent systems, like Smart Grids, has become one of the most challenging research areas in recent years. Early detection of anomalies so as to detect and prevent unexpected faults or stealthy threats is attracting a great deal of attention from the scientific community because it offers potential solutions for context-awareness. These solutions can also help explain the conditions leading up to a given situation and help determine the degree of its severity. However, not all the existing approaches within the literature are equally effective in covering the needs of a particular scenario. It is necessary to explore the control requirements of the domains that comprise a Smart Grid, identify, and even select, those approaches according to these requirements and the intrinsic conditions related to the application context, such as technological heterogeneity and complexity. Therefore, this paper analyses the functional features of existing anomaly-based approaches so as to adapt them, according to the aforementioned conditions. The result of this investigation is a guideline for the construction of preventive solutions that will help improve the context-awareness in the control of Smart Grid domains in the near future.
Eighth IFIP WG 11.10 International Conference on Critical Infrastructure Protection, SRI International, Arlington, Virginia, USA , vol. 441, Springer, pp. 47-63, 2014. DOI
Fundamental problems in control systems theory are controllability and observability, and designing control systems so that these properties are satisfied or approximated sufficiently. However, it is prudent to as- sume that an attacker will not only be able to subvert measurements but also control the system. Moreover, an advanced adversary with an understanding of the control system may seek to take over control of the entire system or parts thereof, or deny the legitimate operator this capability. The effectiveness of such attacks has been demonstrated in previous work. Indeed, these attacks cannot be ruled out given the likely existence of unknown vulnerabilities, increasing connectivity of nominally air-gapped systems and supply chain issues. The ability to rapidly recover control after an attack has been initiated and to detect an adversary’s presence is, therefore, critical. This paper focuses on the problem of structural controllability, which has recently attracted substantial attention through the equivalent problem of the power dom- inating set introduced in the context of electrical power network control. However, these problems are known to be NP-hard with poor approx- imability. Given their relevance to many networks, especially power networks, this paper studies strategies for the efficient restoration of controllability following attacks and attacker-defender interactions in power-law networks.