Detecting Cyber Attacks on Industrial Control Systems

The Chair of Computer Networks and Communication Systems (Head of Chair Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hartmut König) is exploring viable solutions for the detection and containment of cyber-attacks on industrial control systems in the project 'Intelligent Intrusion Detection Systems for Industrial Networks' (INDI). The project is one of twelve projects funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the priority programme 'IT Security in Critical Infrastructures'.

Almost all processes of the energy transfer, from the power plant to the socket, are nowadays increasingly controlled by networked information technology. These modern industrial networks must be especially protected against cyber-attacks. A possible future protection is the intelligent intrusion detection technology developed by the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg. Based on anomaly detection methods, deviations in the information flow are searched, registered and reported. For this, network traffic in industrial plants is automatically analysed using machine learning techniques to derive models for the normal operation of the plants. These models allow us to identify anomalous communication in industrial networks and thus to detect known and unknown attacks. In order to prevent malfunctions in sensitive equipment, the detection technology will be embedded into robust micro-kernel systems, which are protected against targeted attacks. The results of the project will be previously unavailable innovative security systems that automatically adapt themselves to the varying characteristics of industrial control systems. On the one hand they allow specific analyses and enable wide use in electricity, water and gas supply on the other hand.

The 1.69 million Euro BMBF funded INDI project runs until October 2017. Project partners are the University of Göttingen, Vattenfall Europe Generation AG and genua mbH Kirchheim. The project proposal was developed as part of the cooperation agreement between the Department of Computer Networks and Communication Systems and Vattenfall Europe Generation.