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Sandra König, & Stefan Schauer. (2019). Cascading Threats in Critical Infrastructures with Control Systems. In Z. Franco, J. J. González, & J. H. Canós (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response And Management. Valencia, Spain: Iscram.
Abstract: Critical infrastructures (CIs) increase in complexity due to numerous dependencies on other CIs but also due to the ongoing digitalization in the industry sector. This yields an increased risk of failure of a single CI as the overall systems gets very fragile and sensitive to errors Failure of a single component may affect large parts of an infrastructure due to cascading effects. One way to support functionality of a CI is the use of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) that allow monitoring remote sites and controlling processes. However, this is an additional source for threats as recent cyber-attacks have shown. Further, the additional information for such cyber systems is often not efficiently combined with existing information on the physical infrastructure. We here propose a method to combine these two sources of information in order to estimate the impact of a security incident on CIs, taking into account cascading effects of threats. An implementation of the model allows simulation of the dynamics inside a CI and yields a record of the status of each asset of the CI. The way the assets change their states illustrates the consequences of an incident on the entire CI. Visualization of the results provides an overview on the situation of the entire CI at a certain point of time and a sequence of such visualization over an entire period of time illustrates the changes over time. The results from this analysis may be used to support security officers in analyzing the current (hybrid) state of their CI in case of an incident and thus increase the hybrid situational awareness.