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Call to Action: Mobilizing Community Discussion to Improve Information-Sharing About Vulnerabilities in Industrial Control Systems and Critical Infrastructure


Call to Action: Mobilizing Community Discussion to Improve Information-Sharing About Vulnerabilities in Industrial Control Systems and Critical Infrastructure

Abstract: 

Vulnerability management remains a significant challenge for organizations that handle critical infrastructure worldwide. Hallmark cyber-physical incidents with disruptive and destructive capabilities like Stuxnet (2010) and Triton (2017) have exploited known vulnerabilities in information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) assets throughout the attack lifecycle. However, the global critical infrastructure security community is still nascent in the field of industrial control systems (ICS) vulnerability management, especially in information-sharing. While their counterparts in IT security have spent years elaborating multiple resources to track and disseminate information about known vulnerabilities, the ICS community lacks specialized mechanisms for knowledge-sharing. Multiple challenges exist when addressing this issue: a general lack of awareness about ICS cybersecurity, the need to consider multiple industry sectors and unique network architectures, and the need to find a balance between protecting and releasing sensitive information regarding critical infrastructure organizations or proprietary vendor knowledge. Through a multiphase research initiative based on the user-centered design process, we intend to test and evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of various information-sharing platform designs for streamlining the discussion of ICS vulnerabilities. In the first phase of this research, we surveyed ICS and critical infrastructure security stakeholders to gain insight into the range of cogent, shared, and divergent views of the community relating to the need for specialized resources to share information about ICS vulnerabilities. We then evaluated what these different perspectives imply for the adoption and success of certain information-sharing platform frameworks. Finally, utilizing these insights, we demonstrated possible alternative paths forward for addressing the challenge of sharing information about ICS vulnerabilities to keep critical infrastructure safe.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Daniel Kapellmann and Rhyner Washburn. 2019. "Call to Action: Mobilizing Community Discussion to Improve Information-Sharing About Vulnerabilities in Industrial Control Systems and Critical Infrastructure." 2019 11th International Conference on Cyber Conflict (July). https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8756895

START Author(s): 
Rhyner Washburn
Publication URL: 
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