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MITRE Engenuity Releases First ATT&CK Evaluations for Industrial Control Systems Security Tools

MITRE Engenuity released results from its first round of independent ATT&CK Evaluations for Industrial Control Systems (ICS). The evaluations examined how cybersecurity products from five ICS vendors detected the threat of Russian-linked Triton malware.

TRITON malware targets safety systems, preventing operators from responding to failures, hazards and other unsafe conditions, potentially causing physical destruction that can lead to fatal consequences. Russia's Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics developed TRITON, which was used in an attack that shut down a Saudi refinery, leading the U.S. Department of Treasury to impose sanctions against the institute.

The evaluations use ATT&CK for ICS, a MITRE-curated knowledge base of adversary tactics, techniques, and procedures based on known threats to industrial control systems. ATT&CK for ICS provides a common language to describe the tactics and techniques that cyber adversaries use when attacking the systems that operate some of the nation's most critical infrastructures, including energy transmission and distribution plants, oil refineries, wastewater treatment facilities, and more.

The evaluations, which were paid for by the participating vendors, included products from ArmisClarotyDragos; the Institute for Information Industry; and Microsoft.

"We chose to emulate the Triton malware because it targets safety systems, which prevent some of the worst consequences from happening when something goes wrong in an industrial control setting," said Otis Alexander, who leads the ATT&CK Evaluations for ICS. "The amount of publicly reported data from the attacks and the devastating impact of the malware help ensure this is a robust emulation. We hope the evaluations can help organizations find security tools that are best suited to their individual needs."

There are many products that offer different approaches to detecting ICS attacks, and these evaluations can help security practitioners better understand how they meet their organization's needs in areas including the stage of attack when the detections occur, the types of data sources that can be collected, and how information may be presented. Few organizations have the time and resources to install and test multiple products as they make decisions on what they need to defend their networks. "Our evaluations are intended to take some of the guesswork out of the process and provide clarity about how security products detect adversary activity," said Alexander.

In addition to the ATT&CK Evaluations for ICS, MITRE Engenuity also evaluates security products for enterprise networks. Most recently, MITRE Engenuity examined 29 products against the threat from cybercrime groups FIN7 and Carbanak, which have demonstrated the ability to compromise financial service and hospitality organizations, respectively, using malware and tradecraft.

"MITRE Engenuity's ATT&CK Evaluations program is built on the backbone of MITRE's integrity and commitment to making the world a safer, more secure place," said Frank Duff, general manager of the ATT&CK Evaluations program. "Vendors trust us to improve their offerings, and the community trusts that we'll provide transparency into the technology that is necessary to make the best decisions for their unique environment. Unlike closed door assessments, we use a purple teaming approach with the vendor to optimize the evaluation process. MITRE experts provide the red team while the vendor provides the blue team to ensure complete visibility, while allowing the vendor to learn directly from ATT&CK experts."

For the full results and more information about MITRE Engenuity's ATT&CK Evaluations, visit attackevals.mitre-engenuity.org.

Published Monday, July 19, 2021 1:18 PM by David Marshall
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