Cyber Research Center - Industrial Control Systems - CRC-ICS

  • "Every Critical Infrastructure / Industrial Control System will be Compromised this Year!"
  • "Cyber Terrorism the Number 1 Driver for Better Cyber Protection & Resilience!"

Cyber Research Center - Industrial Control Systems / Critical Infrastructures

The Cyber Research Center - Industrial Control Systems (ICS) / Critical Infrastructures (CI) is a network research platform and expert center focusing on the latest research and developments in protecting, detecting and making industrial control systems / critical infrastructures more resilient against current and future cyber threats that organisations are facing. The ultimate goal is to help critical infrastructures / industries to incorporate cyber awareness, cyber resistance and cyber resilience in their current and future industrial designs / architectures and procedures as part of their day to day or future operations. To achieve that goal critical infrastructures / industries must be aware about the fast changing cyber threats and understand how critical infrastructures / industries can better protect themselves and become more resilient.

Security and Cyber Security is a constant challenge facing many aspects of our society including production environments and critical infrastructures. Even in the face of significant threats, society seemingly has insatiable thirst for greater cyber capabilities, and that thirst is accelerating at an increasingly rapid pace. We eagerly adopt new cyber capabilities in the name of efficiency, convenience, entertainment, and even safety; but often, we do so without considering the potentially significant risk. Recent changes in the way we use computers have not only affected where and how computers are used but also the way networks are architected and interconnected: today's network boundaries constantly morph. We are rapidly moving toward a paradigm in which embedded systems as well as 'Internet of Things' will be highly interconnected and pervasive in nearly every aspect of our lives, but what about our safety, security and privacy?

The Cyber Research Center - Industrial Control Systems / Critical Infrastructures is an independent, not for profit, network research & information sharing, expert center working on the future state of acting against Cyber Terrorism and working on Physical & Cyber Protection and Resilience in ICS/CI. CRC-ICS goals are to inform industries / critical infrastructures about the fast changing threats they are facing and the measures, controls and techniques that can be implemented to be prepared to deal with these cyber threats.

The Future of Cyber Terrorism

The face of terrorism is changing. While the motivations remain the same, we are now facing new and unfamiliar weapons. The intelligence systems, tactics, security procedures and equipment that were once expected to protect people, systems, and nations, are powerless against this new, and very devastating weapon. Moreover, the methods of counter-terrorism that our world's specialists have honed over the years are ineffectual against this enemy. Because, this enemy does not attack us with truckloads of explosives, nor with briefcases of Sarin gas, nor with dynamite strapped to the bodies of fanatics. This enemy attacks us with one's and zero's, at a place we are most vulnerable: the point at which the physical and virtual worlds converge.

Potential Cyber Terrorist Acts

Let us examine some example cyber terrorist acts. Based on the definitions of terrorism, a determination can be made if they in fact constitute terrorism:
• A cyber terrorist will remotely access the processing control systems of a cereal manufacturer, change the levels of iron supplement, and sicken and kill the children of a nation enjoying their food. That cyber terrorist will then perform similar remote alterations at a processor of infant formula. The key: the cyber terrorist does not have to be at the factory to execute these acts.
• A cyber terrorist will place a number of computerized bombs around a city, all simultaneously transmitting unique numeric patterns, each bomb receiving each other's pattern. If bomb one stops transmitting, all the bombs detonate simultaneously. The keys: 1) the cyber terrorist does not have to be strapped to any of these bombs; 2) no large truck is required; 3) the number of bombs and urban dispersion are extensive; 4) the encrypted patterns cannot be predicted and matched through alternate transmission; and 5) the number of bombs prevents disarming them all simultaneously. The bombs will detonate.
• A cyber terrorist will disrupt the banks, the international financial transactions, the stock exchanges. The key: the people of a country will lose all confidence in the economic system. Would a cyber terrorist attempt to gain entry to the Federal Reserve building or equivalent? Unlikely, since arrest would be immediate. Furthermore, a large truck pulling along side the building would be noticed. However, in the case of the cyber terrorist, the perpetrator is sitting on another continent while a nation's economic systems grind to a halt. Destabilization will be achieved.
• A cyber terrorist will attack the next generation of air traffic control systems, and collide two large civilian aircraft. This is a realistic scenario, since the cyber terrorist will also crack the aircraft's in-cockpit sensors. Much of the same can be done to the rail lines.
• A cyber terrorist will remotely alter the formulas of medication at pharmaceutical manufacturers. The potential loss of life is unfathomable.
• The cyber terrorist may then decide to remotely change the pressure in the gas lines, causing a valve failure, and a block of a sleepy suburb detonates and burns. Likewise, the electrical grid is becoming steadily more vulnerable.
In effect, the cyber terrorist will make certain that the population of a nation will not be able to eat, to drink, to move, or to live. In addition, the people charged with the protection of their nation will not have warning, and will not be able to shut down the terrorist, since that cyber terrorist is most likely on the other side of the world. Sadly, these examples are not science fiction. All of these scenarios can be executed today. As you may know, some of these incidents already have occurred in various nations. More of such acts will take place tomorrow. Are you prepared?

Cyber Space - Cyber Terrorism 2017

The threat of cyber-terror will be a cause for increasing concern. The biggest cyber-terror threats, cyber-terror tactics, including ptential takeover of command & Control of industrial and military systems and the devastating effects such terrorist control could wreak.  Cyber Warfare picture of www.CRC-ICS.netGlobalization and the internet age provide the world with new possibilities and efficiency, empower citizens and regularize widespread access to information. However, these forces can also be utilized as tools for unregulated cyber terror -- a terrorism without borders and with no theoretical limits. The threat of Cyber-Terror will be a cause for increasing concern in 2017. The biggest Cyber-Terror threats, cyber-terror tactics, including potential takeover of command and control of industrial and military systems and the devastating effects such terrorist control could wreak is part of our research.
While cyber-criminals, thrill-seekers, terrorists, and hacktivists will continue to be the most frequent form of cyber-threat in 2017, and arguably the most dangerous, state-use of cyber tactics in militarized disputes and espionage is also a great, and also possibly the greatest, danger. As with potential terrorist takeovers of industrial control systems, states are growing their abilities in this and other areas, such as the ability to disable the internet and networked defense systems of an adversary. Read also the CRC-ICS Whitepaper 'Cyber Space: The Fifth Domain of War!?'

Physical & Virtual Cyber Security - Critical Infrastructure Interdependencies

Security - Cyber alignedCyber and Security problems continue to plague cyber-physical systems. The growth of the Internet of Things and complexity of industrial control systems will lead to more vulnerabilities in hardware systems and critical infrastructures. Connected devices are becoming a greater part of our lives. From exercise-tracking devices to smart watches to sensors for monitoring industrial processes, businesses and consumers are using connected devices, the so called Internet of Things or IoT, to collect information from the world around them and manage their lives and businesses. The Internet of Things will become such a part of our lives that people would not even sense it, however the introduction of IoT will also introduce enormous security issues because security was not in mind at the design of these things. Today attackers are increasingly looking for vulnerabilities in both the IoT and industrial control systems to gain access to targeted data and systems as we have have seen at the DDOS Attack Against Dyn Managed DNS in October 2016, This massive internet disruption came from hackers using an estimated 100,000 devices, while more than 300.000 devices where infected, powered by Mirai-botnets that can take over cameras DVRs and other IoT's.

Critical Infrastructure Interdependencies
Framework of Critical Infrastructure Interdependencies 2017
"Cyber Threats to the Electricity System are increasing in sophistication, magnitude, and frequency,". "The current Security and Cyber Security Landscape is characterized by rapidly evolving Threats and Vulnerabilities, juxtaposed against the Slower-moving Deployment of Defense Measures in Electricity. "
Nation’s Critical Infrastructures depend on Electricity. Electricity is at the center of key infrastructure
systems   that   support   these   sectors,   including   transportation,   oil   and   gas   production,   water, communications  and  information,  and  finance.    These  electricity-dependent  critical  infrastructures
represent core lifeline networks that supports economy and society. These critical networks
are increasingly converging, sharing resources and synergistic interactions via common architectures (see picture above) and therefore a very interesting target for Nation-State sponsored or Rogue Group Cyber Attacks (Cyber Terrorism).