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Cyber-Security for the legacy Operational Technology underlying Smart Mobility

MSi can assess the existing traffic system's cyber vulnerabilities and then design and implement an cyber protection system to protect it .

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Problem:Operational Technology (OT) runs key equipment and systems essential for critical processes at Austin Transportation Department's current operations as well as in any future environment in which Connected (CV) or Autonomous(AV) Vehicles would operate. While Austin Transportation Department is likely maintaining robust defense-in-depth cyber protections for IT, these protections typically diminish where IT meets OT. Despite best efforts, no OT system is truly “air gapped” and attackers can gain access to the OT and control systems. Austin Transportation Department's system are at risk without OT protection. A successful cyber attack would have a direct and material impact to Austin Transportation Department and the public it serves. Furthermore, campaigns like Dragon Fly 2.0 (North Korea) actively targeting the US energy sector and successful OT cyber campaigns like the 2015 and 2016 Ukraine power grid attacks (Russia), Shamoon (Iran), Stuxnet, Havex, BlackEnergy and more show cyber threats to OT and control systems are real and increasing. A transportation agency in Canada recently traced a cyber-attack back to North Korea. Austin Transportation Department’s traffic system would benefit from robust, cost effective OT cybersecurity. Furthermore, Austin Transportation Department would distinguish itself in its preparedness for CV and AV deployments by showcasing IT AND OT cybersecurity best practices.

Solution:Mission Secure, Inc. (MSi) proposes deploying the patented MSi Platform to protect the OT network and key equipment and systems for Austin Transportation Department. An additional benefit would be an assessment process which would provide Austin Transportation Department with much greater insight to their overall cybersecurity position.

 Project Summary:

  • Assess the Austin Transportation Department OT and key systems (ITS, Field Cabinets, ATC’s etc.) and asses the critical cyber risks
  • Determine the “As Is” architecture of the OT cybersecurity in place, identify major cyber control gaps and immediate recommendations to prevent a skilled cyber adversary from impacting operations at the assets.
  • Develop a cyber architecture design for the key systems/assets using the MSi Platform
  • Configure, test and deploy the MSi Platform in incremental phases 
  • Provide maintenance, support, and upgrades

Describe who will use your solution (1,000 characters)

Traffic system operators usually lack cyber visibility into transportation OT networks + control systems, which are highly complex with multiple control networks, dispersed remote sites, numerous operations systems from a myriad of vendors, and new and legacy technology deployed over decades. The Austin Transportation Department would work with MSi to secure their existing traffic system network and cabinets. In addition to protecting the city's current networks. This is crucial because, in addition to all the risks inherent in IT systems, an OT intrusion has the additional consequences of the hacker disabling or changing the behavior of the city's traffic lights. This becomes even more critical as connected and autonomous vehicle technologies are introduced into the city. So, though they may never know that these cyber protections are in place, all Austin citizens that rely on the current and future transportation mobility infrastructure will use and benefit from this project.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Fully Scaled - you have already scaled your solution and are exploring new use cases

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

Example-A Florida city partnered with MSi’s team of cyber and control system experts. ASSESS | Red teaming/pen-testing the OT. Assessment using MSi’s experts, standards, real-time OT network analysis and on-site reviews. DESIGN | The MSi team analyzed results with actionable recommendations, developed a secure cyber architecture and implementation roadmap including people, process and technology. PROTECT | The city implemented the MSi Platform Pilot and is now pursuing expansion city-wide.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Mission Secure, Inc. (MSi) provides industrial control system cybersecurity visibility AND protection to leading businesses in energy, smart cities, critical infrastructure and the military. The patented* MSi Platform has been purpose-built for industrial control systems, developed and deployed by a world class team of cybersecurity professionals, control system engineers, PhDs, military and business experts.

Size of your team or organization

  • 11-50

Team or Organization URL

Funding Request

  • $75,000

Rough budget (500 characters)

A Standard Four Step Process: MSi has worked on a number of control system cyber security projects over the past several years and the following process and solution offerings represent a common approach requested by our clients. Step 1: Assessment Step 2: Architect & Design Step 3: Sandbox Testing Step 4: Implement, Test, Operate and Support This pilot would include th MSi Platform + Devices as well as the consulting hours necessary for a successful outcome.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

MSi provides the following services to its customers as part of a deployment and ongoing operation of the MSi Platform:  Assess & Design  Configure & Test  Implement & Operate  Continuous monitoring  Intrusion prevention management  Device management  Log retention and management:  Integrate with Existing Traffic System  Expandable end-point protection The project would occur over approximately 90 to 120 days. MSi would work with the Smart Cities, Transportation and IT teams to assess the city's current OT vulnerabilities and deploy a pilot system that would provide visibility, notification and real-time protection of the city's transportation infrastructure. MSi would train city personnel in the use of the MSi Console and work with city personnel to deploy MSi hardware at key points in the traffic network. The inline protections would initially be passive to allow the city to become comfortable and confident in the system before moving to active defense.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

The secure cyber architecture and implementation roadmap undertaken with MSi will position the city as an industry leader, identifying key cyber risks and vulnerabilities inherent within their operations and the industry worldwide. The municipal will serve as a key example of OT cybersecurity for federal, state and local agencies. • The city will receive an in-depth understanding and detailed OT network map for their operations and reduce their cyber risk by gaining superior visibility and protection for the transportation OT and control system networks.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

The City of Austin would end the pilot with a state of the art operational technology cyber defense system in place and protecting their transportation system. The city could expand upon that platform as desired and could also optionally maintain the system at the most up to date version at a low maintenance cost as low as 12% of the initial project cost. This would position Austin as a safe and secure leader as we move into the world of connected and autonomous vehicles.

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Attachments (1)

Mission Secure Overview-Transportation 10-19 with vulnerability slides.pptx

This presentation provides an overview of the serious cyber risks and attack surfaces inherent in the existing traffic systems used by Austin and other cities, as well as providing examples of how these could be exploited by hackers. As cities add new capabilities in connected and autonomous vehicles, there will be more motivation for attacks of all types. It also describes how these gaps cap be protected with a defense-in-depth solution, involving both software and hardware.


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