This site has been deprecated in favor of https://attack.mitre.org and will remain in place until 11/1/22.
|Tactic||Impair Process Control|
|Data Sources||Network Traffic: Network Traffic Content, Application Log: Application Log Content, Operational Databases: Device Alarm, Asset: Device Configuration/Parameters|
|Asset||Control Server, Field Controller/RTU/PLC/IED, Safety Instrumented System/Protection Relay, Human-Machine Interface|
Adversaries may modify parameters used to instruct industrial control system devices. These devices operate via programs that dictate how and when to perform actions based on such parameters. Such parameters can determine the extent to which an action is performed and may specify additional options. For example, a program on a control system device dictating motor processes may take a parameter defining the total number of seconds to run that motor.
An adversary can potentially modify these parameters to produce an outcome outside of what was intended by the operators. By modifying system and process critical parameters, the adversary may cause Impact to equipment and/or control processes. Modified parameters may be turned into dangerous, out-of-bounds, or unexpected values from typical operations. For example, specifying that a process run for more or less time than it should, or dictating an unusually high, low, or invalid value as a parameter.
In the Maroochy Attack, Vitek Boden gained remote computer access to the control system and altered data so that whatever function should have occurred at affected pumping stations did not occur or occurred in a different way. The software program installed in the laptop was one developed by Hunter Watertech for its use in changing configurations in the PDS computers. This ultimately led to 800,000 liters of raw sewage being spilled out into the community.1
In the Oldsmar water treatment attack, adversaries raised the sodium hydroxide setpoint value from 100 part-per-million (ppm) to 11,100 ppm, far beyond normal operating levels.2
- In states 3 and 4 Stuxnet sends two network bursts (done through the DP_SEND primitive). The data in the frames are instructions for the frequency converter drives. For example one of the frames contains records that change the maximum frequency (the speed at which the motor will operate). The frequency converter drives consist of parameters, which can be remotely configured via Profibus. One can write new values to these parameters changing the behavior of the device.3
- Authorization Enforcement - All field controllers should restrict the modification of programs to only certain users (e.g., engineers, field technician), preferably through implementing a role-based access mechanism.
- Audit - Provide the ability to verify the integrity of control logic or programs loaded on a controller. While techniques like CRCs and checksums are commonly used, they are not cryptographically strong and can be vulnerable to collisions. Preferably cryptographic hash functions (e.g., SHA-2, SHA-3) should be used.4
- Nicolas Falliere, Liam O Murchu, Eric Chien. (2011, February). W32.Stuxnet Dossier (Version 1.4). Retrieved September 22, 2017.
- IEC. (2019, February). Security for industrial automation and control systems - Part 4-2: Technical security requirements for IACS components. Retrieved September 25, 2020.