Protection of critical infrastructures

Due to physical and logical vulnerabilities, a critical infrastructure (CI) can encounter failures of various degrees of severity, and since there are many interdependencies between CIs, simple failures can have dramatic consequences on the users. We mainly focus on malicious threats that might affect the information and communication system that controls the Critical Infrastructure, i.e., the Critical Information Infrastructure (CII). In the CRUTIAL project, the CII architecture is seen as a WAN of LANs inter-connected by dedicated switches, called CIS (Crutial Information Switch). Each LAN is composed of logical/physical systems, has its own applications and access control policy, and proposes its services to other systems (see Figure 1).To address the security challenges that are specific of CIIs, we propose using a collaborative access control framework called PolyOrBAC. This approach offers each organization taking part in the CII the capacity of collaborating with the other ones, while maintaining a control on its resources and on its internal security policy. The interactions between organizations participating in the CII are implemented through web services (WS), and for each WS a contract is signed between the service-provider organization and the service user organization. The contract describes the WS functions and parameters, the liability of each party and the security rules controlling the interactions. At runtime, the compliance of all interactions with these security rules is checked. Every deviation from the signed contracts triggers an alarm, the concerned parties are notified and audits can be used as evidence for sanctioning the party responsible for the deviation. Our approach has been illustrated by a practical scenario, based on real emergency actions in an electric power grid infrastructure, and a simulation testbed has been implemented to animate this scenario and experiment its security issues.

Figure 1: A critical information infrastructure


[Sebé et al. 2008] Francesc Sebé, Josep Domingo Ferrer, Antoni Martínez Ballesté, Yves Deswarte, Jean-Jacques Quisquater, “Efficient Remote Data Possession Checking in Critical Information Infrastructures”, IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, Vol. 20, n°8, pp. 1034-1038, août 2008.

[Abou El Kalam et al. 2009] Anas Abou El Kalam, Yves Deswarte, Amine Baïna, Mohamed Kaâniche, “PolyOrBAC: A Security Framework for Critical Infrastructures”, International Journal on Critical Infrastructure Protection (IJCIP), Springer, vol. 2(4), déc. 2009, 37 pp.

[Baïna 2009] Amine Baïna, Contrôle d'Accès pour les Grandes Infrastructures Critiques : Application au réseau d'énergie électrique, Thèse de Doctorat de l’Université de Toulouse, délivrée par l’INSA de Toulouse le 29 septembre 2009, LAAS-CNRS.