Network Security for Industrial Control Systems (ICS)

Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are responsible for the control and automation of a range of industrial plants and physical systems, many of which are considered to be critical national infrastructures. ICS encompasses systems such as Smart Grid, energy production and distribution infrastructure, oil and gas infrastructure, manufacturing, and many other systems that rely on Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA).

The introduction of new communications technologies and interconnectivity into electricity smart-grids, water, gas, oil installations, etc., has exposed cyber vulnerabilities in these systems. ICS and SCADA-specific weaknesses can allow cyber-attackers to potentially disrupt services, exfiltrate sensitive data, and even possibly gain control of assets and physically damage equipment.

Research within CSIT includes research into Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) for ICS networks, detection methods for malicious/anomalous IP and SCADA communications activity, SCADA protocol analysis, ethical hacking of SCADA networks, protocol white-listing approaches as well as emerging Smart Grid security technologies and standards. Much of this work is in collaboration with a number of European systems operators, industrial partners and academic institutes through EU projects.

+ Current Projects

Research projects currently active in this area include:

+ People

Kieran McLaughlin – Lecturer

Sakir Sezer – Research Director

TBA – Research Fellow

Abdullah Al Balushi – PhD Student

Peter Maynard– PhD Student

Gavin McWilliams – Senior Engineering Manager

Ivor Bradley – Senior Engineer

Yi Yang – Jiangsu Electric Power Company Research Institute, China (Past PhD Student)

+ PhD Opportunities

+ Related Publications

Y. Yang, K. McLaughlin, S. Sezer, T. Littler, E. G. Im, B. Pranggono, and H. F. Wang, “Multi-Attribute SCADA-Specific Intrusion Detection System for Power Networks” IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, in press Jan 2014.

Yi Yang, Kieran McLaughlin, Sakir Sezer, Yubo Yuan, Wei Huang, “Stateful Intrusion Detection for IEC 60870-5-104 SCADA Security” IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting, 2014 (accepted)

Y. Yang, K. McLaughlin, T. Littler, S. Sezer, B. Pranggono, H.F. Wang, "Intrusion Detection System for IEC 61850-5-104 based SCADA Networks," IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting, 2013.

Y. Yang, K. McLaughlin, S, Sezer, T. Littler, B. Pranggono, P. Brogan, and H. F. Wang, "Intrusion Detection System for Network Security in Synchrophasor Systems," IET Int. Conf. on Information and Comms. Technologies, 2013. 

Y. Yang, K. McLaughlin, T. Littler, S, Sezer, and H. F. Wang "Rule-based intrusion detection system for SCADA networks." Renewable Power Generation Conference (RPG 2013), 2nd IET. IET, 2013. 

J. Hurley, A. Munoz, and S. Sezer. "ITACA: Flexible, scalable network analysis." Communications (ICC), 2012 IEEE International Conference on. IEEE, 2012.

Y. Yang, K. McLaughlin, S. Sezer, T. Littler, E. G. Im, and H. F. Wang, “Man-in-the-Middle Attack Test-bed Investigating Cyber-security Vulnerabilities in Smart Grid SCADA Systems”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Sustainable Power Generation (SUPERGEN 2012).

Y. Yang, T. Littler, S. Sezer, K. McLaughlin, H. Wang, “Impact of Cyber Security on Smart Grid,” IEEE PES Conference on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT) 2011.