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Control System Simulator Helps Operators Learn to Fight Hackers


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A flow chart showing data flows within a simulated chemical processing facility.

A simulator developed at the Georgia University of Technology helps to secure industrial control systems against hackers by helping operators improve their ability to detect potential attacks and take appropriate action.

Credit: Georgia Tech Research Horizons

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology's (Georgia Tech) have developed a simulator that secures industrial control systems against hackers by helping operators improve their ability to detect potential attacks and take appropriate action.

The simulator, developed with assistance from security startup Fortiphyd Logic and supported by the Georgia Research Alliance, offers operators, researchers, and students the opportunity to experience hacks, attack detection, and the effects of manipulating physical processes in these systems.

The Graphical Realism Framework for Industrial Control Simulations (GRFICS) enables users to act as both attackers and defenders of a simulated chemical processing plant, with defenders assigned to look for signs of attack and ensure continued security system operations.

GRFICS includes a three-dimensional video gaming engine running on Linux virtual machines and software running programmable logic controllers.

Georgia Tech's David Formby says, "This is a complete virtual network, so you can set up your own entry detection rules and play on the defensive side to see whether or not your defenses are detecting the attacks."

From Georgia Tech Research Horizons
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