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Protecting Clock Synchronization: Adversary Detection through Network Monitoring
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2018-0996
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.
TTTech Computertechnik AG, Austria.
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Embedded Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6497-4099
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2016 (English)In: Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ISSN 2090-0147, E-ISSN 2090-0155, 6297476Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Today, industrial networks are often used for safetycritical applications with real-time requirements. The architecture of such applications usually has a time-triggered nature that has message scheduling as a core property. Real-time scheduling can be applied only in networks where nodes share the same notion of time, i.e., they are synchronized. Therefore, clock synchronization is one of the fundamental assets of industrial networks with real-time requirements. However, standards for clock synchronization, i.e., IEEE 1588, do not provide the required level of security. This raises the question about clock synchronization protection. In this paper we identify a way to break synchronization based on the IEEE 1588 standard by conducting a man-in-the-middle (MIM) attack followed by a delay attack. MIM attack can be accomplished through e.g., Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) poisoning. Using AVISPA tool we evaluate the potential to perform an ARP poisoning attack. Next, an analysis of the consequences of introducing delays is made, showing both that the attack can, indeed, break clock synchronization and that some design choices, such as a relaxed synchronization condition mode, delay bounding and using knowledge of environmental conditions, can be made to make the network more robust/resilient against these kinds of attacks. Lastly, network monitoring is proposed as a technique to detect anomalies introduced by an adversary performing attacks targeting clock synchronization. The monitoring capabilities are added to the network using a Configuration Agent, which, based on data obtained from the network, is able to detect an attack. The main contribution of the paper is a detailed problem description and evaluation of a security vulnerability in IEEE 1588 against delay attacks together with an evaluation of several approaches as possible mitigation techniques for the attack.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. 6297476
National Category
Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-31363DOI: 10.1155/2016/6297476ISI: 000377485400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84973312270OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-31363DiVA: diva2:915710
Projects
RetNet - The European Industrial Doctorate Programme on Future Real-Time Networks
Available from: 2016-03-30 Created: 2016-03-30 Last updated: 2016-12-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Securing Clock Synchronization in Industrial Heterogeneous Networks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Securing Clock Synchronization in Industrial Heterogeneous Networks
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Today, wireless solutions for industrial networks are becoming more and more appealing since they increase flexibility and enable the use of additional wireless sensors, but also bring such advantages as mobility and weight reduction. Wired networks, on the other hand, are reliable and, more importantly, already existing in most distributed control loops. Heterogeneous networks consisting of wireless as well as wired sub-networks are gaining attention as such networks combine the advantages of both approaches. However, wireless communication links are more vulnerable to security breaches because of their broadcast nature. For this reason, industrial heterogeneous networks require a new type of security solutions, since they have different system assets and security objectives. This thesis aims to secure industrial heterogeneous networks. Such networks have real-time requirements due to interaction with some physical process, and thus have a schedule with one or more deadlines for data delivery in order to comply with the timing requirements of the application. The necessity to follow the schedule implies that all network participants should share the same notion of time and be synchronized. This fact makes clock synchronization a fundamental asset for industrial networks. The first step towards developing a security framework for industrial heterogeneous networks with real-time requirements is therefore to investigate ways of breaching clock synchronization. Once the vulnerabilities of this asset have been identified, the next step is to propose solutions to detect malicious attacks and mitigate their influence. The thesis provides a vulnerability analysis of the asset synchronization based on the widely deployed IEEE 1588 standard, and identifies a possibility to break clock synchronization through a combination of a man-in-the-middle attack and a delay attack. This attack is appealing to an adversary as it can target any network requiring synchronization. Next, several mitigation techniques, such as a relaxed synchronization condition mode, delay bounding and using knowledge of existing environmental conditions, are identified, making the network more resilient against these kinds of attacks. Finally, a network monitor aiming to detect anomalies introduced by the adversary performing attacks targeting clock synchronization is proposed as a mean to detect the delay attack. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2016
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 232
National Category
Computer Science
Research subject
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-31376 (URN)978-91-7485-258-5 (ISBN)
Presentation
2016-05-18, Kappa, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-04-05 Created: 2016-04-04 Last updated: 2016-04-15Bibliographically approved

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