Impact of Network Infrastructure Parameters to the Effectiveness of Cyber Attacks Against Industrial Control Systems

Béla Genge, Christos Siaterlis, Marc Hohenadel


The fact that modern Networked Industrial Control Systems (NICS) depend on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), is well known. Although many studies have focused on the security of SCADA systems, today we still lack the proper understanding of the effects that cyber attacks have on NICS. In this paper we identify the communication and control logic implementation parameters that influence the outcome of attacks against NICS and that could be used as effective measures for increasing the resilience of industrial installations. The implemented scenario involves a powerful attacker that is able to send legitimate Modbus packets/commands to control hardware in order to bring the physical process into a critical state, i.e. dangerous, or more generally unwanted state of the system. The analysis uses a Boiling Water Power Plant to show that the outcome of cyber attacks is influenced by network delays, packet losses, background traffic and control logic scheduling time. The main goal of this paper is to start an exploration of cyber-physical effects in particular scenarios. This study is the first of its kind to analyze cyber-physical systems and provides insight to the way that the cyber realm affects the physical realm.


cyber attacks, Industrial Control Systems, SCADA, security

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