A Malware-Tolerant, Self-Healing Industrial Control System Framework

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Colleges, School and Institutes


Industrial Control Systems (ICSs) are computers managing many critical infrastructures like power plants, aeroplanes, production lines, etc. While ICS were specialised hardware circuits without internet connection in former times, they are nowadays commodity computers with network connection, TCP/IP stack, and a full operating system, making them vulnerable to common attacks. The defensive mechanisms, however, are still lacking behind due to the strong requirement for availability of ICSs which prohibits to deploy typical countermeasures like e.g. an anti-virus. New techniques are needed to defend these systems under their distinct prerequisites.
We introduce the concept of a malware-tolerant ICS network architecture which can still operate securely even when some components are entirely compromised by an attacker. This was done by replacing all single pointof-
failures with multiple components verifying each other. We provide ProVerif proofs to show the correctness of the network protocol one-byone assuming each device compromised.
Furthermore, we added a self-healing mechanism based on invariants to the architecture on network as well as system level which will reset failed or compromised systems. To demonstrate system level self-healing, we implemented it on top of FreeRTOS and ARM TrustZone. The network level self-healing was incorporated into the ProVerif proofs by formally verifying the absence of type 1 (falsely identified attacks) and type 2 errors (missed attacks).


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICT Systems Security and Privacy Protection
Subtitle of host publication32nd IFIP TC 11 International Conference, SEC 2017, Rome, Italy, May 29-31, 2017, Proceedings
EditorsSabrina De Capitani di Vimercati, Fabio Martinelli
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2018
Event32nd International Conference on ICT Systems Security and Privacy Protection (IFIP SEC 2017) - Rome, Italy
Duration: 29 May 201731 May 2017

Publication series

NameIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
ISSN (Print)1868-4238
ISSN (Electronic)1868-422X


Conference32nd International Conference on ICT Systems Security and Privacy Protection (IFIP SEC 2017)


  • Industrial Control System (ICS), Security, Malware Tolerance, Self-Healing