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Loss of Control

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Loss of Control
ID T0827
Tactic Impact
External Contributors Dragos Threat Intelligence


Adversaries may seek to achieve a sustained loss of control or a runaway condition in which operators cannot issue any commands even if the malicious interference has subsided.123

The German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) reported a targeted attack on a steel mill in its 2014 IT Security Report.4 These targeted attacks affected industrial operations and resulted in breakdowns of control system components and even entire installations. As a result of these breakdowns, massive impact resulted in damage and unsafe conditions from the uncontrolled shutdown of a blast furnace.

Procedure Examples

  • Industroyer's data wiper component removes the registry "image path" throughout the system and overwrites all files, rendering the system unusable.5
  • Some of Norsk Hydro's production systems were impacted by a LockerGoga infection. This resulted in a loss of control which forced the company to switch to manual operations.67


  • Out-of-Band Communications Channel - Provide operators with redundant, out-of-band communication to support monitoring and control of the operational processes, especially when recovering from a network outage 8. Out-of-band communication should utilize diverse systems and technologies to minimize common failure modes and vulnerabilities within the communications infrastructure. For example, wireless networks (e.g., 3G, 4G) can be used to provide diverse and redundant delivery of data.
  • Redundancy of Service - Hot-standbys in diverse locations can ensure continued operations if the primarily system are compromised or unavailable. At the network layer, protocols such as the Parallel Redundancy Protocol can be used to simultaneously use redundant and diverse communication over a local network.9
  • Access Management - Take and store data backups from end user systems and critical servers. Ensure backup and storage systems are hardened and kept separate from the corporate network to prevent compromise. Maintain and exercise incident response plans 10, including the management of "gold-copy" back-up images and configurations for key systems to enable quick recovery and response from adversarial activities that impact control, view, or availability.