Security Research Institute, Edith Cowan University
In previous decades, cyber-attacks have not been considered a threat to critical infrastructure. However, as the Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) domains converge, the vulnerability of OT infrastructure is being exploited. Nation-states, cyber criminals and hacktivists are moving to benefit from economic and political gains. The OT network, i.e. Industrial Control System (ICS) is referred to within OT infrastructure as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA). SCADA systems were introduced primarily to optimise the data transfer within OT network infrastructure. The introduction of SCADA can be traced back to the 1960’s, a time where cyber-attacks were not considered. Hence SCADA networks and associated systems are highly vulnerable to cyber-attacks which can ultimately result in catastrophic events. Historically, when deployed, intrusion detection systems in converged IT/OT networks are deployed and monitor the IT side of the network. While academic research into OT specific intrusion detection is not a new direction, application to real systems are few and lack the contextual information required to make intrusion detection systems actionable. This paper provides an overview of cyber security in OT SCADA networks. Through evaluating the historical development of OT systems and protocols, a range of current issues caused by the IT/OT convergence is presented. A number of publicly disclosed SCADA vulnerabilities are outlined, in addition to approaches for detecting attacks in OT networks. The paper concludes with a discussion of what the future of interconnected OT systems should entail, and the potential risks of continuing with an insecure design philosophy.