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TA0100 Collection

The adversary is trying to gather data of interest and domain knowledge on your ICS environment to inform their goal.

Collection consists of techniques adversaries use to gather domain knowledge and obtain contextual feedback in an ICS environment. This tactic is often performed as part of Discovery, to compile data on control systems and targets of interest that may be used to follow through on the adversary’s objective. Examples of these techniques include observing operation states, capturing screenshots, identifying unique device roles, and gathering system and diagram schematics. Collection of this data can play a key role in planning, executing, and even revising an ICS-targeted attack. Methods of collection depend on the categories of data being targeted, which can include protocol specific, device specific, and process specific configurations and functionality. Information collected may pertain to a combination of system, supervisory, device, and network related data, which conceptually fall under high, medium, and low levels of plan operations. For example, information repositories on plant data at a high level or device specific programs at a low level. Sensitive floor plans, vendor device manuals, and other references may also be at risk and exposed on the internet or otherwise publicly accessible.

Item Value
ID TA0100
Created 17 October 2018
Last Modified 08 March 2023

Techniques (11)

ID Name Description
T0830 Adversary-in-the-Middle Adversaries with privileged network access may seek to modify network traffic in real time using adversary-in-the-middle (AiTM) attacks. This type of attack allows the adversary to intercept traffic to and/or from a particular device on the network. If a AiTM attack is established, then the adversary has the ability to block, log, modify, or inject traffic into the communication stream. There are several ways to accomplish this attack, but some of the most-common are Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) poisoning and the use of a proxy.
T0802 Automated Collection Adversaries may automate collection of industrial environment information using tools or scripts. This automated collection may leverage native control protocols and tools available in the control systems environment. For example, the OPC protocol may be used to enumerate and gather information. Access to a system or interface with these native protocols may allow collection and enumeration of other attached, communicating servers and devices.
T0811 Data from Information Repositories Adversaries may target and collect data from information repositories. This can include sensitive data such as specifications, schematics, or diagrams of control system layouts, devices, and processes. Examples of information repositories include reference databases in the process environment, as well as databases in the corporate network that might contain information about the ICS.
T0893 Data from Local System Adversaries may target and collect data from local system sources, such as file systems, configuration files, or local databases. This can include sensitive data such as specifications, schematics, or diagrams of control system layouts, devices, and processes.
T0868 Detect Operating Mode Adversaries may gather information about a PLCs or controllers current operating mode. Operating modes dictate what change or maintenance functions can be manipulated and are often controlled by a key switch on the PLC (e.g., run, prog [program], and remote). Knowledge of these states may be valuable to an adversary to determine if they are able to reprogram the PLC. Operating modes and the mechanisms by which they are selected often vary by vendor and product line. Some commonly implemented operating modes are described below:
T0877 I/O Image Adversaries may seek to capture process values related to the inputs and outputs of a PLC. During the scan cycle, a PLC reads the status of all inputs and stores them in an image table. The image table is the PLCs internal storage location where values of inputs/outputs for one scan are stored while it executes the user program. After the PLC has solved the entire logic program, it updates the output image table. The contents of this output image table are written to the corresponding output points in I/O Modules.
T0801 Monitor Process State Adversaries may gather information about the physical process state. This information may be used to gain more information about the process itself or used as a trigger for malicious actions. The sources of process state information may vary such as, OPC tags, historian data, specific PLC block information, or network traffic.
T0861 Point & Tag Identification Adversaries may collect point and tag values to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the process environment. Points may be values such as inputs, memory locations, outputs or other process specific variables. Tags are the identifiers given to points for operator convenience.
T0845 Program Upload Adversaries may attempt to upload a program from a PLC to gather information about an industrial process. Uploading a program may allow them to acquire and study the underlying logic. Methods of program upload include vendor software, which enables the user to upload and read a program running on a PLC. This software can be used to upload the target program to a workstation, jump box, or an interfacing device.
T0852 Screen Capture Adversaries may attempt to perform screen capture of devices in the control system environment. Screenshots may be taken of workstations, HMIs, or other devices that display environment-relevant process, device, reporting, alarm, or related data. These device displays may reveal information regarding the ICS process, layout, control, and related schematics. In particular, an HMI can provide a lot of important industrial process information. Analysis of screen captures may provide the adversary with an understanding of intended operations and interactions between critical devices.
T0887 Wireless Sniffing Adversaries may seek to capture radio frequency (RF) communication used for remote control and reporting in distributed environments. RF communication frequencies vary between 3 kHz to 300 GHz, although are commonly between 300 MHz to 6 GHz. The wavelength and frequency of the signal affect how the signal propagates through open air, obstacles (e.g. walls and trees) and the type of radio required to capture them. These characteristics are often standardized in the protocol and hardware and may have an effect on how the signal is captured. Some examples of wireless protocols that may be found in cyber-physical environments are: WirelessHART, Zigbee, WIA-FA, and 700 MHz Public Safety Spectrum.