Lightweight Intrusion Detection for Resource-Constrained Embedded Control Systems

Reeves, J., Ramaswamy, A., Locasto, M., Bratus, S., Smith, S.W.

IFIP Working Group 11.10 Conference on Critical Infrastructure Protection V, IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology Volume 367, 2011, pp 31-46.

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Securing embedded control systems presents a unique challenge. In addition to the resource restrictions inherent to embedded devices, embedded control systems must accommodate strict, non-negotiable timing requirements, and their massive scale greatly increases other costs such as power consumption. These constraints render conventional host-based intrusion detection – using a hypervisor to create a safe environment under which a monitoring entity can operate – costly and impractical.

This paper describes the design and implementation of Autoscopy, an experimental host-based intrusion detection system that operates from within the kernel and leverages its built-in tracing framework to identify control flow anomalies that are often caused by rootkits hijacking kernel hooks. Experimental tests demonstrate that Autoscopy can detect representative control flow hijacking techniques while maintaining a low performance overhead.


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