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Detecting and preventing replay attacks in industrial automation networks operated with profinet IO

: Pfrang, Steffen; Meier, David


Journal of computer virology and hacking techniques 14 (2018), No.4, pp.253-268
ISSN: 2263-8733
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IOSB ()
industrial network; replay attack; intrusion detection and prevention; attack detection modeling; defense in depth

Modern industrial facilities consist of controllers, actuators and sensors that are connected via traditional IT equipment. The ongoing integration of these systems into the communication network yields to new threats and attack possibilities. In industrial networks, often distinct communication protocols like Profinet IO (PNIO) are used. These protocols are often not supported by typical network security tools. In this work, we present two attack techniques that allow to take over the control of a PNIO device, enabling an attacker to replay previously recorded traffic. We model attack detection rules and propose an intrusion detection system (IDS) for industrial networks which is capable of detecting those replay attacks by correlating alerts from traditional IT IDS with specific PNIO alarms. As an additional effort, we introduce defense in depth mechanisms in order to prevent those attacks from taking effect in the physical world. Thereafter, we evaluate our IDS in a physical demonstrator and compare it with another IDS dedicated to securing PNIO networks. In a conceptual design, we show how network segmentation with flow control allows for preventing some, but not all of the attacks.