Lightweight Journaling for Scada Systems via Event Correlation

Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 485)


Industrial control systems are not immune to cyber incidents. However, the support for incident responders and forensic investigators is low. In particular, there are limited journaling capabilities for operator actions. Barring the preservation of full packet captures and operator workstation security logs, which can generate unmanageable amounts of data on production networks, it is generally not possible to attribute control events (e.g., opening a valve or operating a breaker) to individual operators. This information can be necessary to perform security investigations, especially in cases involving malicious insider activities. This chapter presents a lightweight journaling system for SCADA networks based on event correlation. By correlating network events and operating system logs, a journal is generated of all Modbus protocol write events along with the usernames of the operators who performed the actions. The journal is much more compact than a full packet capture, achieving compression ratios of around 570 to 1 in conservative conditions and more than 2,000 to 1 in typical operating conditions, allowing for the preservation of valuable information for security investigations.


SCADA Networks Network forensics Journaling Event correlation 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoine Lemay
    • 1
  • Alireza Sadighian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jose Fernandez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer and Software EngineeringEcole Polytechnique de MontrealMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Groupe Access CompanyMontrealCanada

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