Critical infrastructure systems are vulnerable to physical and cyber attack. Securing these systems is a top priority for the U.S., but ongoing efforts ignore important aspects of the information technology (IT) lifecycle and focus primarily on securing the operational phase of these systems. Adversaries have ample opportunity to compromise our critical systems at every stage of those systems’ lifecycles.
In this paper, the author proposes the use of trust anchors—functional elements that can be developed through trustworthy processes and introduced into process control systems to provide critical security services that cannot be influenced by malicious content— to address the lifecycle threats of the process control system. Secure obfuscation technology developed by Sandia National Laboratories enables one of the most important capabilities of trust anchors: It obfuscates trust anchors’ functions and renders them tamper-proof in a cryptographically secure manner.