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Title: Identifying and detecting attacks in industrial control systems
Author: Tuptuk, Nilufer
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 1462
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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The integrity of industrial control systems (ICS) found in utilities, oil and natural gas pipelines, manufacturing plants and transportation is critical to national wellbeing and security. Such systems depend on hundreds of field devices to manage and monitor a physical process. Previously, these devices were specific to ICS but they are now being replaced by general purpose computing technologies and, increasingly, these are being augmented with Internet of Things (IoT) nodes. Whilst there are benefits to this approach in terms of cost and flexibility, it has attracted a wider community of adversaries. These include those with significant domain knowledge, such as those responsible for attacks on Iran's Nuclear Facilities, a Steel Mill in Germany, and Ukraine's power grid; however, non specialist attackers are becoming increasingly interested in the physical damage it is possible to cause. At the same time, the approach increases the number and range of vulnerabilities to which ICS are subject; regrettably, conventional techniques for analysing such a large attack space are inadequate, a cause of major national concern. In this thesis we introduce a generalisable approach based on evolutionary multiobjective algorithms to assist in identifying vulnerabilities in complex heterogeneous ICS systems. This is both challenging and an area that is currently lacking research. Our approach has been to review the security of currently deployed ICS systems, and then to make use of an internationally recognised ICS simulation testbed for experiments, assuming that the attacking community largely lack specific ICS knowledge. Using the simulator, we identified vulnerabilities in individual components and then made use of these to generate attacks. A defence against these attacks in the form of novel intrusion detection systems were developed, based on a range of machine learning models. Finally, this was further subject to attacks created using the evolutionary multiobjective algorithms, demonstrating, for the first time, the feasibility of creating sophisticated attacks against a well-protected adversary using automated mechanisms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available