Daniel Kapellmann Zafra
Daniel Kapellmann is the Technical Analysis Manager for Mandiant Threat Intelligence cyber-physical team, which works to understand and provide context on malicious activity seeking to impact physical infrastructure. Coming from a multidisciplinary background, he is especially interested in bringing new questions and creating solutions to defend industrial control systems and operational technologies. He has presented his work in a variety of international conferences. Outside from his work, he is a world traveler who loves learning languages, dancing and singing.
As of today, most discussions on cyber security focus on privacy and the implications of incidents involving data. However, those of us in cyber physical security often see things differently as we study actors attempting to use computers to impact the physical world (e.g. critical infrastructure and industrial controls). Geopolitical conflicts and accessible offensive security tools make defending against these threats increasingly complex. The anthology I bring for you illustrates the evolution of cyber physical threats through several stories with topics that span from non-fiction espionage and crime thrillers to politically-motivated intrusions and master tinkerers’ ill-fated creations. By focusing on the different players involved and their motivations, I intend not to hype up the scenario, but instead to accurately describe what we observe daily in the cyber physical threat intelligence community.
Attacks on cyber physical systems are perceived as necessarily complex and requiring significant time and resources. However, in the last couple years we have also observed the inverse: simple attacks where actors with varying levels of skill and few resources gain access to software and interfaces that control physical processes. These compromises appear to be driven by ideological, egotistical, or financial objectives, taking advantage of an ample supply of internet-connected cyber physical systems. This is sometimes concerning, for example when it is affects panels for controlling processes in a water facilities or manufacturing processes. Sometimes, though, it is absurd, such as when the critical systems actors claim to compromise are in fact toys or domestic appliances. In this talk, we will share a series of stories of success and failure involving low sophistication compromises on cyber physical systems. We will describe the different types of cases we have observed, what the actors did, and how you can reproduce them for good. At last, we will discuss to what extent these crimes of opportunity represent a risk to cyber physical systems and what we can do about it.