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Friday, March 27, 2020

Watermarking Control Data for Safety from Hackers

Thoughtful and apparently simple idea.

Approach Could Protect Control Systems From Hackers
IEEE Spectrum
Michelle Hampson
March 26, 2020

Researchers at Siemens and Croatia’s University of Zagreb have developed a technique to more easily identify attacks against industrial control systems (ICS), like those used in the electric power grid, or to control traffic. The researchers applied the concept of "watermarking" data during transmission to ICS, in a manner that is broadly applicable without requiring details about the specific ICS. In such a scenario, when data is transmitted in real time over an unencrypted channel, it is accompanied by a specialized algorithm in the form of a recursive watermark (RWM) signal; any disruption to the RWM signal indicates an attack is underway. Said Siemens' Zhen Song, “If attackers change or delay the real-time channel signal a little bit, the algorithm can detect the suspicious event and raise alarms immediately."

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