Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT

Behind the Scenes at ICS Village

ICS Village co-founder Bryson Bort reveals plans for research-dedicated events that team independent researchers, critical infrastructure owners, and government specialists.

Independent researchers and critical infrastructure owners came together in a small village at the Ballys Convention Center last week to share their knowledge and test their skills. In a conversation with Bryson Bort, founder and CEO of Scythe and co-founder of the ICS Village, Dark Reading heard how the federal government hopes to leverage the combination of skills that were on display at DEF CON and why rapid changes in infrastructure control are having a big impact on industrial control system (ICS) security.

"Thirty years ago, power only went one way," Bort said. "Now, with renewables, we have a two-way street of power." Controlling this two-way flow requires that computers manage the edge of the electrical grid, he pointed out, adding that electric automobiles make the control more complicated and more dangerous.

"Electric car infrastructure is driving a completely different problem where we're now talking voltages that you don't see in residential," he said. "These are really high voltages. I think Porsche's Taycan is coming out next year, and they're going for, like, 800 volts."

Bort said changes in requirements were part of why he ended up at the Department of Homeland Security talking about bringing the knowledge and skills held by DEF CON attendees to government agencies and critical infrastructure owners. "We're trying to bring those parties together to to change the old perspective of, 'Hey, it's just a bunch of dirty hackers who are trying to break things for bad reasons,'" Bort said.

As a result of those conversations, the ICS Village is in the early stages of planning dedicated events at conferences next year to join independent researchers, critical infrastructure owners, and government specialists. The idea is that the assembled teams will do real research under guidelines for ethical disclosures to the benefit of the industry, Bort says.

Asked whether protecting critical infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities from enemy nation-states is the goal of the ICS Village, Bort demurred. "What we've seen so far is that there are no real direct attacks on our infrastructure," he said. "Wildlife causes far more outages and disruptions than any intentional human being has done so far."

Still, Bort said, many "operations" are going on in and around critical infrastructure every day. He described these as intelligence operations in which malicious actors get into a system, see how far they can go, and understand precisely what the defensive response is.

"I believe they are trying to establish those levers so that whenever things do rise to some tension level where we're really talking 'kinetic on kinetic,' one of the other things they have in their quiver now is to pull some levers and cause some damage [to the US]," he said.

But the greatest deterrent to a proactive attack against US infrastructure can't be found in any DEF CON village, Bort said. Should someone launch an attack, the former Army officer said, "The response that we're going to have is not going to be wagging a finger or debating red lines. We're going to go back and bomb you."

Related Content:

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Cyber-Risk Is a C-Suite Issue
Marc Wilczek, Digital Strategist & CIO Advisor,  11/12/2019
DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
Attackers' Costs Increasing as Businesses Focus on Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19071
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
A memory leak in the rsi_send_beacon() function in drivers/net/wireless/rsi/rsi_91x_mgmt.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.11 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) by triggering rsi_prepare_beacon() failures, aka CID-d563131ef23c.
CVE-2019-19072
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
A memory leak in the predicate_parse() function in kernel/trace/trace_events_filter.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.11 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption), aka CID-96c5c6e6a5b6.
CVE-2019-19073
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
Memory leaks in drivers/net/wireless/ath/ath9k/htc_hst.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.11 allow attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) by triggering wait_for_completion_timeout() failures. This affects the htc_config_pipe_credits() function, the htc_setup_complete() function, ...
CVE-2019-19074
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
A memory leak in the ath9k_wmi_cmd() function in drivers/net/wireless/ath/ath9k/wmi.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.11 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption), aka CID-728c1e2a05e4.
CVE-2019-19075
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-18
A memory leak in the ca8210_probe() function in drivers/net/ieee802154/ca8210.c in the Linux kernel before 5.3.8 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) by triggering ca8210_get_platform_data() failures, aka CID-6402939ec86e.