EXata for Cyber-Physical Systems (EXata CPS)

Cyber Security for Critical Infrastructure

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SCALABLE has developed a high-fidelity network emulator, EXata CPS, to simulate the underlying communication fabric of electrical grids and test the cyber resilience of such systems. EXata CPS is integrated with OPAL-RT’s HYPERSIM simulator on the same hardware (or box) to offer a complete real-time cyber-physical solution for the development, testing, and assessment of electrical grids with communication networks. HYPERSIM, which simulates the physical system, is the only real-time digital simulator with the power to simulate electromagnetic transients of large-scale power systems, tackling operational and reliability issues threatening a power system’s cybersecurity. This integration of EXata CPS and HYPERSIM provides a means to test the resilience of power systems to cyber attacks and improve their cyber defenses, thereby helping to ensure cybersecurity, reliability, and efficiency of such systems.

Since EXata CPS and HYPERSIM reside on the same box, they can employ low-latency communications at Layer 2 (MAC or link layer) to analyze cyber threats that can be injected at these lower layers in the physical system. An example is an attack on a power grid control system that modifies sensor messages to the controller, reporting less power than is actually available, leading the controller to shed power by stopping service to some residential consumers. Another example is an attack that delays a message from a controller to an actuator to shut down a generator, possibly leading to overloading and hence damaging parts of the grid. EXata CPS provides a means to more effectively identify and visualize the impact of cyber attacks on monitoring and control systems used by power systems. With EXata CPS, specific environments can be replicated in a lab, and “what if” scenarios can be quickly evaluated to determine what happens to power systems if they are subjected to cyber-attacks.

Ensure the Resilience of Cyber Physical Systems (CPS)

EXata for Cyber-Physical Systems (EXata CPS) supports the creation of network digital twins to improve the efficiency of their infrastructure systems while advancing the reliability of their grid. EXata CPS integrates with OPAL-RT power simulators to allow synchronized emulation of communication systems and power grid components.

  • Assess the effectiveness of tools, techniques, and architectures to protect SCADA systems from diverse cyber threats
  • Analyze and visualize network state and attacks without threatening operations
  • Measure and improve system resiliency and mission assurance

Innovative SCADA Cybersecurity Training Using Network Digital Twins

Explore our unique solution for protecting Critical Infrastructure using EXata for Cyber-Physical Systems (EXata CPS), and our Network Defense Trainer (NDT). NDT leverages EXata CPS network modeling capabilities and provides additional capabilities to identify and log human actions, correlating those actions with cyber-attack progression, network performance, and cyber-physical system behavior.

  • The impact of cyber-attacks on critical SCADA operations
  • How can we predict the complex interactions between cyber-attacks, defensive actions, and Cyber-Physical Systems?
  • How do we safely train operators to prevent or contain cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure?

Benefits of EXata CPS

EXata CPS provides a means to more effectively identify and visualize the impact of cyber attacks on monitoring and control systems used by power systems. With EXata CPS, specific environments can be replicated in a lab, and “what if” scenarios can be quickly evaluated to determine what happens to power systems if they are subjected to cyber attacks.

EXata CPS leverages SCALABLE’s EXata simulation/emulation software,  to create software models of all types of communication networks. The models are then used to study the performance of networks under different operational conditions to identify and find solutions to potential problems and to investigate the resiliency of the network to cyber threats. The models are comprised of nodes representing network elements and endpoints (routers, switches, radios, sensors, PCs, servers, firewalls, and other security equipment) and the links that connect the nodes (buses, LAN segments, radio transmissions, Wi-Fi signals, LTE connections, etc.). Hardware elements (live or simulated by HYPERSIM) can be integrated into the EXata CPS emulation by means of the system-in-the loop capability. Since EXata CPS employs an efficient kernel designed to leverage multi-core and parallel processors to dramatically increase the event processing rate and hence simulation execution speeds, it can run emulations of networks comprised of thousands of nodes at realtime speeds with real-world high fidelity.

  • Integration of emulated network with equipment and physical system dynamics simulation.
  • Packet-level emulation to predict system behavior under attack.
  • Scalability to represent the entire network while respecting timing constraints.
  • Run ‘what-if’ scenarios of control systems under cyber-attack without threatening operations.

• Assess the effectiveness of tools,  techniques, and architectures to ensure system availability.
• Measure and improve system resiliency, and develop plans to mitigate risks from cyber attacks.
• Packaging of EXata CPS and HYPERSIM in the same box enables fast communication at Layer 2, ensuring that the timing constraints of the overall system can be met.

Related Resources

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EXata For Cyber Physical Systems - Technical Details

This integration of EXata CPS and HYPERSIM provides a means to test the resilience of power systems to cyber attacks and improve their cyber defenses, thereby helping to ensure cybersecurity, reliability, and efficiency of such systems.

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Automated Creation of Network Digital Twins

Digital Twins can be used for analysis which can provide insights and actionable information to improve the process or product in terms of optimized performance, cost-effectiveness, readiness, or maintenance.

Key Features of EXata

Real Time Emulator

Seamlessly interface with other live equipment and applications

Cyber Testing

Test the resiliency of your network to Cyber Attacks

Network Digital Twin

Test your network in a low-cost, zero-risk environment

Scalability

Model thousands of nodes with parallel execution

Model Fidelity

Models simulate accurate real-world behavior

Commercial enterprises, educational institutions, and governmental organizations around the world all depend on reliable, effective networks to deliver business-critical, mission-critical communications, and information. SCALABLE maintains a highly experienced group of technical professionals to support customers and projects of any scale and solve challenging problems with our advanced network digital twin technology.

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