MITRE and CISA release Caldera for OT attack emulation

Pierluigi Paganini September 06, 2023

MITRE and CISA released a Caldera extension for OT that allows the emulation of attacks on operational technology systems.

MITRE Caldera is an open-source adversary emulation platform that helps cybersecurity practitioners to automate security assessments. The tool is built on the MITRE ATT&CK framework, which is a widely-recognized framework for understanding and responding to cyber threats.

“Without further ado, the MITRE Caldera team is proud to announce the release of Caldera™ for OT; a collection of Caldera plugins that provide support for common industrial protocols.” reads the announcement for the product. “The initial release includes support for BACnet, Modbus, and DNP3 protocols.”

Caldera can be used to automate a variety of security assessments, including:

  • Red teaming: This is a simulated attack on an organization’s systems and networks to identify and assess vulnerabilities.
  • Blue teaming: This is the process of defending an organization’s systems and networks from attack.
  • Purple teaming: This is a collaborative approach to security that brings together red and blue teams to work together to improve an organization’s security posture.

MITRE and CISA have announced the availability of Caldera for OT, a new extension, to allow security teams to emulate attacks targeting operational technology systems.

“A collection of plugins that extend Caldera to the Operational Technology (OT) environment.” reads the description of the plugin published on GitHub. “This repository contains all the Caldera for OT plugins as git submodules. As described in each individual plugin README, it is also possible to git clone a specific protocol plugin directly into the Caldera plugins directory, following the “Installation” guidance.”

Caldera for OT extension was developed in collaboration with the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute (HSSEDI) and CISA.

HSSEDI and CISA collaborated on automated adversary emulation simulations conducted at the CISA’s Control Environment Laboratory Resource (CELR).

“The Control Environment Laboratory Resource (CELR) is an environment for government and private industry partners to experience the possible effects of kinetic cyber-physical attacks. CELR allows users to perform security research on industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. CELR is a test range that uses multiple platforms capable of hosting simulated risk scenarios against real critical infrastructure (CI) processes.” 

“Protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure is essential. With Caldera for OT, we are pleased to partner with CISA to help defenders of operational technology exercise and improve the defenses of these critical systems,” said Yosry Barsoum, vice president and director, Center for Securing the Homeland at MITRE.

“Continued cyber threats to OT systems require a concerted focus on supporting the critical infrastructure community with actionable tools and resources,” said Eric Goldstein, executive assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA. “Through our ongoing collaboration with HSSEDI, we are leveraging our collective expertise and resources to develop innovative measures that safeguard critical systems. Caldera for OT, as well as CELR, can help critical infrastructure owners and operators protect their systems against emerging threats.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, MITRE)

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