A Critical Infrastructure Testbed for Cybersecurity Research and Education
Awareness for cybersecurity in critical infrastructure is imperative because critical infrastructure is vital to our economy and public safety. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are networks of computers that monitor and control industrial machines and processes, prevalent in critical infrastructures. Unfortunately, SCADA systems are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, giving an opening to attacks. Testbeds provide a safe environment to observe how attacks occur and their possible effects on a real system. In this project, a simple and reconfigurable testbed was created and attacked for the purpose of research and education in this area of vital National importance. The initial focus of the testbed attacks were on industrial control system attacks, thus, under this approach, the attacker has already breached the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) security measures and is preparing to compromise the industrial control network. The testbed includes three modules: the Local Area Network (LAN), a serial Modbus/RTU Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) network, and a Modbus/TCP to Modbus/RTU translation gateway. We attacked the sensors and motors by ping flooding. The sensors and motors timed out, causing the Human Machine Interface (HMI) to lose connection with them. The testbed and related attack methods will be used by educational institutions for lab courses concerning cybersecurity in critical infrastructures, increasing critical infrastructure awareness and security skills in future generations of cybersecurity professionals.