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Archive for July, 2009

SANS SCADA European Summit 2009

July 29, 2009 Leave a comment

SANS announced their plan to host the upcoming SCADA EU-Summit in Stockholm,Sweden. The event is scheduled for (29 & 30 October).

Key topics as advertised on the SANS website include:

– The most critical security challenges in implementing smart meters and smart grid. Learn what the US is doing with its $4.8 billion in Smart-Grid funding to ensure these systems do not create new risks

– The lessons discovered by leading process control user organizations throughout the world, and what your process control vendor may be doing to boost the defenses on systems already deployed and on new systems.

– Hear why control systems are so difficult to protect, and arm yourself with clear case studies showing what has been done and what can be done to protect SCADA and other control systems. Learn the language of control systems so you can be of more help to the engineers who plan and deploy such systems.

– The requirements and constraints faced by owners and operators of automation systems. Determine the state of the art in control system security as a benchmark for your own future planning.

– Find out what government can and cannot do; the requirements, constraints, and current capabilities available to secure critical control systems.

– Hear the most challenging and important questions that will shape your process control security research agendas.

The following courses will be offered for free.

– Introduction to Cyber Security for Control Systems
– Intermediate Control Systems Security

Event Details ( http://www.sans.org/info/46599 )

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(DOE) Department of Energy goes DNSSEC

July 27, 2009 Leave a comment

The Energy Department has started implementing Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) on its high-performance Energy Sciences Network (ESnet), using a commercial appliance to digitally sign DNS records and manage cryptographic keys.

DNSSEC is a set of protocols for digitally signing records used by the DNS to translate numerical IP addresses into commonly used domain names. Because DNS transactions underlie most activity on the Internet, assuring the authenticity of this information is crucial to security. The .gov (TLD) top-level domain was digitally signed in February, and the Office of Management and Budget is requiring agencies to sign second-tier domains within .gov by the end of the year.

NIST, NTIA , ICANN, and VeriSign are all working on a practical scheme for deploying DNSSEC in the Internet’s authoritative root zone.

Resources:

The DNSSEC Deployment Initiative Official Website
GOVSEC Free Presentations about the Government’s Plan of Deployment

Leveraging Ethernet Card Vulnerabilities in Field Devices – White Paper

July 27, 2009 Leave a comment

DigitalBond will post one of their S4 (SCADA Security Scientific Symposium ) white papers every week from now till January 2010.

The first paper is “Leveraging Ethernet Card Vulnerabilities in Field Devices“. This paper shows the exploitation of unauthenticated firmware uploads in field devices can be exploited and the potential impact of an intelligent exploit.

You Can Check Out the paper Here

Power Lines Can be Used to Steal Data

July 19, 2009 Leave a comment

A recently announced exploit is targeting the electrical grid , with no expensive pieces of equipment required, How to execute these attacks will be demonstrated at the Black Hat USA 2009 security conference in Las Vegas later this month by Andrea Barisani and Daniele Bianco, a pair of researchers for network security consultancy Inverse Path.

Stealing Keystrokes via Electrical Lines

Stealing Keystrokes via Electrical Lines

In the power-line exploit, the attacker grabs the keyboard signals that are generated by hitting keys. Because the data wire within the keyboard cable is unshielded, the signals leak into the ground wire in the cable, and from there into the ground wire of the electrical system feeding the computer. Bit streams generated by the keyboards that indicate what keys have been struck create voltage fluctuations in the grounds, they say.

The attack proved successful when tapping electric sockets located up to 15 meters from where the target computer was plugged in the researchers say.

“If our small research was able to accomplish acceptable results in a brief development time (approximately a week of work) and with cheap hardware,” they say. “Consider what a dedicated team or government agency can accomplish with more expensive equipment and effort,”

Comments: Applying the same technique Can a vulnerable Smart Meter be used to steal data from all the wired Computers in a house ?

Full Article HERE

SMART GRID Domains Where Standards are Needed

July 13, 2009 Leave a comment

In the presentation ( NIST Smart Grid Standards Roadmap Project Goals ).

An illustration of key standards per domain as mentioned in NIST’s Smart Grid Road Map, and how they come into play can be seen below.

SMART GRID Domains

SMART GRID Domains

Also in the slides NIST provides an analogy comparing the Smart Grid to Verizon’s new Triple Play network

Quote: ” (Verizon FiOS is one example – integrates voice, video, data)
• Initial field trials in 2004
• Nationwide full deployment will take 10-15 years
• Standards work started in 2003
• Three principal standards bodies involved
• Release 1 standards finalized year-end 2005
• Release 2 finalized early 2008
• About 600 standards documents
• Mostly “mix & match” and extensions of existing standards
• Standards continue to evolve with new technology

Smart Grid is about the same magnitude
• Key difference: many more standards bodies involved
• Strong coordination role needed
” End Quote.

My Comments:

– As the Smart Grid continues to attract media and general public attention, its worth noting that a huge amount of deep technical information is now out there for free. All the communication protocols in the graph are published online and available in details.

A Proposed Testbed for SCADA Systems

July 5, 2009 Leave a comment

This paper is trying to answer the need to have a SCADA “Lab” testbed for checking vulnerabilities and validating security solutions. the researchers are trying to propose a limited budget environment that imitates the main components of a SCADA system.

The proposed testbed implementation will use the likes of Emulab.org (Network Emulation Testbed) , OMNeT++( an extensible, modular, component-based C++ simulation library and framework) , both are open source communities.
Simplified Network Model

The research Paper ( A Testbed for Secure and Robust SCADA Systems ) was published in 2008. (Source ACM.org)