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Design of a Novel Information System for Semi-Automated Management of Cybersecurity in Industrial Control Systems...

by Kimia Ameri, Michael Hempel, Hamid R Sharif-kashani, Juan Lopez Jr, Kalyan S Perumalla
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ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems
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There is an urgent need in many critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy sector, for attaining detailed insights into cybersecurity features and compliance with cybersecurity requirements related to their Operational Technology (OT) deployments. Frequent feature changes of OT devices interfere with this need, posing a great risk to customers. One effective way to address this challenge is via a semi-automated cyber-physical security assurance approach, which enables verification and validation of the OT device cybersecurity claims against actual capabilities, both pre- and post-deployment. To realize this approach, this paper presents new methodology and algorithms to automatically identify cybersecurity-related claims expressed in natural language form in ICS device documents. We developed an identification process that employs natural language processing (NLP) techniques with the goal of semi-automated vetting of detected claims against their device implementation. We also present our novel NLP components for verifying feature claims against relevant cybersecurity requirements. The verification pipeline includes components such as automated vendor identification, device document curation, feature claim identification utilizing sentiment analysis for conflict resolution, and reporting of features that are claimed to be supported or indicated as unsupported. Our novel matching engine represents the first automated information system available in the cybersecurity domain that directly aids the generation of ICS compliance reports.