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SimaticScan: towards a specialised vulnerability scanner for industrial control systems

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Publication date23/08/2016
Host publicationProceedings 4th International Symposium for ICS & SCADA Cyber Security Research
Original languageEnglish


Over the years, modern Industrial Control Systems (ICS) have become widely computerised and connected via the Internet and are, therefore, potentially vulnerable to cyber attacks. Currently there is a lack of vulnerability scanners specialised to ICS settings. Systems such as PLCScan and ModScan output pertinent information from a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). However, they do not offer any information as to how vulnerable a PLC is to an attack. In this paper, we address these limitations and propose SimaticScan, a vulnerability scanner specialised to Siemens SIMATIC PLCs. Through experimentation in a comprehensive water treatment testbed, we demonstrate SimaticScan’s effectiveness in determining a range of vulnerabilities across three distinct PLCs, including a previously unknown vulnerability in one of the PLCs. Our experiments also show that SimaticScan outperforms the widely used Nessus vulnerability scanner (with relevant ICS-specific plugins deployed).