Security lab for Industrial Control System protection

| Information and Communication Technology

Industrial asset cyber protection

The ICS Security Lab and training programme from Applied Risk is designed to provide protection for industrial control and SCADA systems from cyber attacks.

Applied Risk has launched its ICS Security Lab to help protect industrial assets and infrastructure from costly cyber attacks. The lab has identified its first vulnerability in Moxa EDS-405A/EDS-408A managed Ethernet switches, allowing attackers to remotely compromise their availability, integrity and confidentiality with potentially devastating consequences for connected industrial assets across multiple sectors.

Key vulnerabilities

The ICS Security Lab identified three key vulnerabilities, detailed in its latest advisory. The first is in the administrative web interface of the switches. The control that prevents a user-level account from modifying settings could be easily circumvented to allow increased privileges. Another is a denial-of-service (DoS) issue that could allow an attacker to cause a device to restart via a specific URL. The third vulnerability is a cross-site scripting (XSS) bug in the administrative web interface which can be exploited to inject arbitrary JavaScript code in the admin interface.

Jalal Bouhdada, Founder and Principal ICS/SCADA Security Consultant for Applied Risk states: “Responsible disclosure and collaboration with vendors is the optimum approach for ensuring any and all security flaws are highlighted in hardware and software. The positive response from the vendor and its professionalism throughout the process has helped Applied Risk and Moxa to validate and issue a fix for all reported security flaws.”

Focus on industrial protection

Applied Risk’s new ICS Security Lab delivers unique market and threat analysis across the chemical, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, power, water, oil and gas sectors. With the latest vulnerability research, reverse-engineering protocol and source code analysis techniques, its expert team of researchers is now able to provide early warning of emerging ICS threats and detail their legitimacy, while confirming affected code bases, products, versions and configurations.

Vulnerable and infected ICS systems can be identified too along with exploit attempts or malware activity. Part of the lab’s service also involves remediation activities, including workarounds and configuration changes to safeguard systems for both suppliers and system owners.

Erwin Paternotte, Senior ICS/SCADA Consultant at Applied Risk, states, “Left unchecked, the Moxa vulnerabilities and similar threats could have had disastrous consequences. You are effectively handing a facility’s keys to an attacker – giving them full use of your operating infrastructure. The problem can sometimes lie in issues as simple as the use of default passwords, hard-coded encryption keys or the poor authentication of firmware updates. As seen with Moxa, our lab is dedicated to identifying vulnerabilities as part of the product development and ensuring security updates are issued by the vendor in the shortest time possible.”

Industrial cyber security training

Launched in conjunction with the ICS Security Lab, the Online ICS Cyber Security Awareness Training platform from Applied Risk is designed to establish a widespread and deep-rooted industrial control systems security culture across organisations. It introduces participants to the challenges of technology convergence before dealing with a threat’s real-world impact, the anatomy of a cyber attack and how the defence-in-depth concept is applied to businesses.

Other training options outline the techniques for mitigating cyber risks while identifying key elements for addressing process control system security and good practice principles. The online training is provided in a SCORM-compliant format and can be hosted either in an organisation’s own compliant learning management system (LMS) or in Applied Risk’s own hosted platform.

Jalal Bouhdada continued: “Regardless of industry sector, for businesses to create the most secure and reliable operations, training is a necessity. Staff must learn how to contribute to an environment that at its core is secure by design, secure by default and secure by deployment. With the appropriate ICS security education in place, industrial organisations are in a significantly stronger position to protect their facilities against prevalent security risks and associated costs while enhancing compliance and demonstrating resilience.”

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