SHARKS: Smart Hacking Approaches for RisK Scanning in Internet-of-Things and Cyber-Physical Systems based on Machine Learning. (arXiv:2101.02780v1 [cs.CR])

Cyber-physical systems (CPS) and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices are
increasingly being deployed across multiple functionalities, ranging from
healthcare devices and wearables to critical infrastructures, e.g., nuclear
power plants, autonomous vehicles, smart cities, and smart homes. These devices
are inherently not secure across their comprehensive software, hardware, and
network stacks, thus presenting a large attack surface that can be exploited by
hackers. In this article, we present an innovative technique for detecting
unknown system vulnerabilities, managing these vulnerabilities, and improving
incident response when such vulnerabilities are exploited. The novelty of this
approach lies in extracting intelligence from known real-world CPS/IoT attacks,
representing them in the form of regular expressions, and employing machine
learning (ML) techniques on this ensemble of regular expressions to generate
new attack vectors and security vulnerabilities. Our results show that 10 new
attack vectors and 122 new vulnerability exploits can be successfully generated
that have the potential to exploit a CPS or an IoT ecosystem. The ML
methodology achieves an accuracy of 97.4% and enables us to predict these
attacks efficiently with an 87.2% reduction in the search space. We demonstrate
the application of our method to the hacking of the in-vehicle network of a
connected car. To defend against the known attacks and possible novel exploits,
we discuss a defense-in-depth mechanism for various classes of attacks and the
classification of data targeted by such attacks. This defense mechanism
optimizes the cost of security measures based on the sensitivity of the
protected resource, thus incentivizing its adoption in real-world CPS/IoT by
cybersecurity practitioners.



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