Theses and Dissertations


Wei Gao

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Morris, Thomas H.

Committee Member

Reese, Donna

Committee Member

Abdelwahed, Sherif

Committee Member

Dampier, David

Committee Member

Fowler, James E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are computer-based process control systems that interconnect and monitor remote physical processes. There have been many real world documented incidents and cyber-attacks affecting SCADA systems, which clearly illustrate critical infrastructure vulnerabilities. These reported incidents demonstrate that cyber-attacks against SCADA systems might produce a variety of financial damage and harmful events to humans and their environment. This dissertation documents four contributions towards increased security for SCADA systems. First, a set of cyber-attacks was developed. Second, each attack was executed against two fully functional SCADA systems in a laboratory environment; a gas pipeline and a water storage tank. Third, signature based intrusion detection system rules were developed and tested which can be used to generate alerts when the aforementioned attacks are executed against a SCADA system. Fourth, a set of features was developed for a decision tree based anomaly based intrusion detection system. The features were tested using the datasets developed for this work. This dissertation documents cyber-attacks on both serial based and Ethernet based SCADA networks. Four categories of attacks against SCADA systems are discussed: reconnaissance, malicious response injection, malicious command injection and denial of service. In order to evaluate performance of data mining and machine learning algorithms for intrusion detection systems in SCADA systems, a network dataset to be used for benchmarking intrusion detection systemswas generated. This network dataset includes different classes of attacks that simulate different attack scenarios on process control systems. This dissertation describes four SCADA network intrusion detection datasets; a full and abbreviated dataset for both the gas pipeline and water storage tank systems. Each feature in the dataset is captured from network flow records. This dataset groups two different categories of features that can be used as input to an intrusion detection system. First, network traffic features describe the communication patterns in a SCADA system. This research developed both signature based IDS and anomaly based IDS for the gas pipeline and water storage tank serial based SCADA systems. The performance of both types of IDS were evaluates by measuring detection rate and the prevalence of false positives.