Industrial and Critical Infrastructure Security: Technical Analysis of Real-Life Security Incidents

Georgios Michail Makrakis, Constantinos Kolias, Georgios Kambourakis, Craig Rieger, Jacob Benjamin
2021 IEEE Access  
Critical infrastructures and industrial organizations aggressively move towards integrating elements of modern Information Technology (IT) into their monolithic Operational Technology (OT) architectures. Yet, as OT systems progressively become more and more interconnected, they silently have turned into alluring targets for diverse groups of adversaries. Meanwhile, the inherent complexity of these systems, along with their advanced-in-age nature, prevents defenders from fully applying
more » ... ry security controls in a timely manner. Forsooth, the combination of these hindering factors has led to some of the most severe cybersecurity incidents of the past years. This work contributes a full-fledged and upto-date survey of the most prominent threats and attacks against Industrial Control Systems and critical infrastructures, along with the communication protocols and devices adopted in these environments. Our study highlights that threats against critical infrastructure follow an upward spiral due to the mushrooming of commodity tools and techniques that can facilitate either the early or late stages of attacks. Furthermore, our survey exposes that existing vulnerabilities in the design and implementation of several of the OTspecific network protocols and devices may easily grant adversaries the ability to decisively impact physical processes. We provide a categorization of such threats and the corresponding vulnerabilities based on various criteria. As far as we are aware, this is the first time an exhaustive and detailed survey of this kind is attempted.
doi:10.1109/access.2021.3133348 fatcat:jcjpkvwmibh4tbdltwtugfknli