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Cyber/physical security vulnerability assessment integration

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7 Author(s)
Macdonald, D. ; Pacific Northwest Nat. Lab. Richland, Richland, WA, USA ; Clements, S.L. ; Patrick, S.W. ; Perkins, C.
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Securing high value and critical assets is one of the biggest challenges facing this nation and others around the world. In modern integrated systems, there are four potential modes of attack available to an adversary: 1 physical only attack, 2 cyber only attack, 3 physical-enabled cyber attack, 4 cyber-enabled physical attack. Blended attacks involve an adversary working in one domain to reduce system effectiveness in another domain. This enables the attacker to penetrate further into the overall layered defenses. Existing vulnerability assessment (VA) processes and software tools which predict facility vulnerabilities typically evaluate the physical and cyber domains separately. Vulnerabilities which result from the integration of cyber-physical control systems are not well characterized and are often overlooked by existing assessment approaches. In this paper, we modified modification of the timely detection methodology, used for decades in physical security VAs, to include cyber components. The Physical and Cyber Risk Analysis Tool (PACRAT) prototype illustrates an integrated vulnerability assessment that includes cyber-physical interdependencies. Information about facility layout, network topology, and emplaced safeguards is used to evaluate how well suited a facility is to detect, delay, and respond to attacks, to identify the pathways most vulnerable to attack, and to evaluate how often safeguards are compromised for a given threat or adversary type. We have tested the PACRAT prototype on critical infrastructure facilities and the results are promising. Future work includes extending the model to prescribe the recommended security improvements via an automated cost-benefit analysis.

Published in:

Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT), 2013 IEEE PES

Date of Conference:

24-27 Feb. 2013