UNDERSTANDING INFORMATION SECURITY INCIDENT MANAGEMENT PRACTICES:A case study in the electric power industry
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With the implementation of smarter electric power distribution grids follows new technologies, which lead to increased connectivity and complexity. Traditional IT components – hardware, firmware, software – replace proprietary solutions for industrial control systems. These technological changes introduce threats and vulnerabilities that make the systems more susceptible to both accidental and deliberate information security incidents. As industrial control systems are used for controlling crucial parts of the society’s critical infrastructure, incidents may have catastrophic consequences for our physical environment in addition to major costs for the organizations that are hit. Recent attacks and threat reports show that industrial control organizations are attractive targets for attacks. Emerging threats create the need for a well-established capacity for responding to unwanted incidents. Such a capacity is influenced by both organizational, human, and technological factors. The main objective of this doctoral project has been to explore information security incident management practices in electric power companies and understand challenges for improvements. Both literature studies and empirical studies have been conducted, with the participation of ten Distribution System Operators (DSOs) in the electric power industry in Norway. Our findings show that detection mechanisms currently in use are not sufficient in light of current threats. As long as no major incidents are experienced, the perceived risk will most likely not increase significantly, and following, the detection mechanisms might not be improved. The risk perception is further affected by the size of the organization and whether IT operations are outsourced. Outsourcing of IT services limits the efforts put into planning and preparatory activities due to a strong confidence in suppliers. Finally, small organizations have a lower risk perception than large ones. They do not perceive themselves as being attractive targets for attacks, and they are able to operate the power grid without the control systems being available. These findings concern risk perception, organizational structure, and resources, which are factors that affect current practices for incident management. Furthermore, different types of personnel, such as business managers and technical personnel, have different perspectives and priorities when it comes to information security. Besides, there is a gap in how IT staff and control system staff understand information security. Cross-functional teams need to be created in order to ensure a holistic view during the incident response process. Training for responding to information security incidents is currently given low priority. Evaluations after training sessions and minor incidents are not performed. Learning to learn would make the organizations able to take advantage of training sessions and evaluations and thereby improve their incident response practices. The main contributions of this thesis are knowledge on factors that affect current information security incident management practices and challenges for improvement, and application of organizational theory on information security incident management. Finally, this thesis contributes to an increased body of empirical knowledge of information security in industrial control organizations.
Has partsPaper 1: Line, Maria Bartnes; Tøndel, Inger Anne; JAATUN, Martin Gilje. Cyber Security Challenges in Smart Grids. IEEE PES Innovative Smart Grid Technologies 2011. Is not included due to copyright available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ISGTEurope.2011.6162695
Paper 2: Line, Maria Bartnes. Why securing smart grids is not just a straightforward consultancy exercise. Security and Communication Networks 2014 ;Volum 7.(1) s. 160-174 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sec.703 Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Reprinted with permission from John Wiley and Sons.
Paper 3: Tøndel, Inger Anne; Line, Maria Bartnes; Jaatun, Martin Gilje. Information security incident management: Current practice as reported in the literature. Computers & security (Print) 2014 ;Volum 45. s. 42-57. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cose.2014.05.003 This article is reprinted with kind permission from Elsevier, sciencedirect.com
Paper 4: Maria B. Line and Eirik Albrechtsen. Examining the suitability of industrial safety management approaches for information security incident management. The final published version is available in International Journal of Information and Computer Security. 2016 ;Volum 24.(1) http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/ICS-01-2015-0003
Paper 5: Line, Maria Bartnes. A Study of Resilience within Information Security in the Power Industry. I: Proceedings from IEEE Africon 2013. Is not included due to copyright available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/AFRCON.2013.6757799
Paper 6: Line, Maria Bartnes; Tøndel, Inger Anne; Jaatun, Martin Gilje. Information security incident management: Planning for failure. I: 8th International Conference on IT Security Incident Management and IT Forensics (IMF 2014), May 12-14, 2014, Münster, Germany. IEEE Computer Society 2014 ISBN 978-1-4799-4330-2. s. 47-61. Is not included due to copyright available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/IMF.2014.10
Paper 7: Maria B. Line, Inger Anne Tøndel, and Martin G. Jaatun. Does size matter? Information security incident management in large and small industrial control organizations http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcip.2015.12.003 © 2015. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Paper 8: Line, Maria Bartnes; Zand, Ali; Stringhini, Gianluca; Kemmerer, Richard A.. Targeted Attacks against Industrial Control Systems: Is the Power Industry Prepared?. I: CCS'14 2014 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security, S s. 13-22. Is not inluded due to copyright avialable at http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2667190.2667192
Paper 9: Line, Maria Bartnes; Moe, Nils Brede. Understanding Collaborative Challenges in IT Security Preparedness Exercises. I: ICT Systems Security and Privacy Protection : 30th IFIP TC 11 International Conference, SEC 2015, Proceedings. Springer 2015,s. 311-324 The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-18467-8_21