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Title:A testbed to simulate cyber attacks on nuclear power plants
Author(s):Al-Barakat, Laith M.
Advisor(s):Uddin, Rizwan
Department / Program:Nuclear, Plasma, & Rad Engr
Discipline:Nuclear, Plasma, Radiolgc Engr
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Nuclear power plants are critical infrastructures that must be safe and secure from undesirable intrusions: these intrusions are both physical and cyber. The increasing usage of digital control and computer systems, for supervisory control and data acquisition in the control rooms of new generation nuclear reactors, has introduced several cyber security issues that must be addressed. One of the most significant problems is that this new technology has increased the vulnerability of the nuclear power plant to cyber security threats. Furthermore, this exposed vulnerability is one of the main reasons that the transition to digital control rooms connected to enterprise network (or the internet) has been slow and hesitant. In order to address these issues and ensure that a digital control system is safe and secure from undesirable intrusions, the system must go through extensive tests and validation. These tests will verify that systems are safe and properly functioning. The vulnerabilities of a nuclear power plant can be determined through conducting cyber security exercises, cyber security attacks scenarios, and simulated attacks. All these events can be performed using the control room in the nuclear power plant, but it is a complicated and hampered process because of the complex hardware and software interactions that must be considered. Control rooms are also not ideal places to test various cyber attacks and scenarios because any mishap can lead to detrimental impacts on the nearby surroundings. This research attempts to present our approach to build a comparative testbed that captures the relevant complexity of a nuclear power plant. A testbed is developed and designed to assess the vulnerabilities that are introduced by using public networks for communications. The testbed is also used to simulate different cyber attack scenarios and it will serve to present detection mechanisms that are based on the understanding of the controlled physical system.
Issue Date:2012-02-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Laith M. Al-Barakat
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-02-06
Date Deposited:2011-12

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