On This Page

Assessing and Exploiting Control Systems & IoT

Justin Searle, UtiliSec | July 22-25



Overview

This is not your traditional SCADA/ICS/IoT security course! How many courses send you home with your own PLC and a set of hardware/RF hacking tools?!? This course teaches hands-on penetration testing techniques used to test individual components of a control system, including embedded electronic field devices, network protocols, RF communications, Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs), and various forms of master servers and their ICS applications. Skills you will learn in this course will apply directly to systems such as the Smart Grid, PLCs, RTUs, smart meters, building management, manufacturing, Home Area Networks (HAN), smart appliances, SCADA, substation automation, and synchrophasors. This course is structured around the formal penetration testing methodology created by UtiliSec for the United States Department of Energy. Using this methodology and Control Things Pentest Platform (previously SamuraiSTFU), an open source Linux distribution for pentesting energy sector systems and other critical infrastructure, we will perform hands-on penetration testing tasks on user interfaces (on master servers and field device maintenance interfaces), control system protocols (modbus, DNP3, IEC 60870-5-104), RF communications (433MHz, 869MHz, 915MHz), and embedded circuit attacks (memory dumping, bus snooping, JTAG, and firmware analysis). We will tie these techniques and exercises back to control system devices that can be tested using these techniques. The course exercises will be performed on a mixture of real world and simulated devices to give students the most realistic experience as possible in a portable classroom setting.

Advances in modern control systems such as the energy sector's Smart Grid has brought great benefits for asset owners/operators and customers alike, however these benefits have often come at a cost from a security perspective. With increased functionality and addition inter-system communication, modern control systems bring a greater risk of compromise that vendors, asset owners/operators, and society in general must accept to realize the desired benefits. To minimize this risk, penetration testing in conjunction with other security assessment types must be performed to minimize vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit critical infrastructures that exist in all countries around the world. Ultimately, this is the goal of this course, to help you know how, when, and where this can be done safely in your control systems.

Who Should Take this Course

Basic penetration testing experience is desirable, but not required. It is assumed that attendees will have no knowledge of control systems, Smart Grid, SCADA, or critical infrastructure. This course is designed for intermediate level security professionals, be they engineers, technicians, analysts, managers, or penetration testers.

Student Requirements

For those with little or no ICS experience, these Wikipedia articles provide a brief introduction to the concepts and history of control systems that will be helpful to know for class:


What Students Should Bring

  • Laptop with at least two USB ports (three ports preferred). If only two USB ports exist on the laptop and they are right next to each other (such as found on a Macbook Air), a USB extension cable must be brought as well
  • Latest VMware Player, VMware Workstation, VWware Fusion installed. Other virtualization software such as Parallels or VirtualBox may work if the attendee is familiar with its functionality, however VMware Player should be prepared as a backup just in case
  • Access to an account with administrative permissions and the ability to disable all security software on their laptop such as Antivirus and/or firewalls if needed for the class
  • At least thirty (30) GB of free hard drive space
  • At least four (4) GB of RAM, preferably eight (8) GB of RAM
  • Windows 7 (with .NET 4.0), 8.x, or 10.x installed on your host laptop or inside a VM

What Students Will Be Provided With

The following items are provided to each student to use in class and take home with them:
  • Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)
  • Software to program the PLC to keep (non-expiring)
  • Software to program an HMI for the PLC (non-expiring)
  • Buspirate with probes and EEPROMS for exercises
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
  • 915MHz or 898Mhz based access point and remote device for exercises
  • MSP430 Launchpad for Firmware exercises
  • Latest version of the Control Things Pentest Platform on DVD or USB
  • Power for your laptop
  • Internet connectivity may or may not be available depending on the facility hosting the course
  • PDF version of the course slide deck

Trainers

Justin Searle is the Managing Partner of UtiliSec, specializing in ICS security architecture design and penetration testing. Justin led the Smart Grid Security Architecture group in the creation of NIST Interagency Report 7628 and has played key roles in the Advanced Security Acceleration Project for the Smart Grid (ASAP-SG), National Electric Sector Cybersecurity Organization Resources (NESCOR), and Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP). Justin has taught courses in hacking techniques, forensics, networking, and intrusion detection for multiple universities, corporations, and security conferences. Mr. Searle is currently a certified instructor for the SANS Institute. In addition to electric power industry conferences, Justin frequently presents at top international security conferences such as Black Hat, DEFCON, OWASP, Nullcon, and AusCERT. Justin co-leads prominent open source projects including the Samurai Web Testing Framework (SamuraiWTF), the Samurai Security Testing Framework for Utilities (SamuraiSTFU), Yokoso!, and Laudanum. Justin has an MBA in International Technology and is a CISSP and SANS GIAC certified Incident Handler (GCIH), Intrusion Analyst (GCIA), Web Application Penetration Tester (GWAPT), and GIAC Industrial Control Security Professional (GICSP).