Operation technology originally used the concepts of isolation, obscurity, and limited physical access for cybersecurity. Exposure of insecure systems to public communication technologies, such as the Internet, has drastically increased the cyberattack surface. The Internet of things and the industrial Internet of things have been growing exponentially, which further acerbates the already expanding operational technology attack surface. The purpose of this research was to determine if an active cyber defense could augment the existing passive defense-in-depth perimeter defenses of the operational technologies. The research examined the evolution of the operational technology environment, why adversaries would wish to attack the environment, and if an active cyber defense can add benefit to an organization’s existing defensive strategy. This research found that an active cyber defense methodology could be beneficial for augmenting existing security measures provided certain prerequisites are met. Prerequisites included a well-defined and defendable architecture, properly-configured passive security mechanisms, and skilled defenders. This research recommended that additional research be conducted in specific domains, such as critical infrastructure, manufacturing, financial industries, and connected vehicles, to determine if the general findings are universal. Additional recommendations included applying pressure to lawmakers and device manufacturers to design cybersecurity into new devices during the design phase and conducting research to provide both domestic and international lawmakers incentive to create laws that delineate legal and illegal cybersecurity defensive practices along with better international cooperation.
|Advisor:||Wendt, Donnie W., Kelley, Shaun P.|
|Commitee:||Hosmer, Chester D.|
|Keywords:||Cyber defense, Cyberattack surface, Defendable architecture|
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