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Advanced cybersecurity course in control systems and industrial automation

Posted on 11/23/2016, by INCIBE
Curso avanzado de ciberseguridad en sistemas de control y automatización industrial

Although not the first attack directed at critical infrastructure, Stuxnet marked a before and after in the world of cybersecurity. It set a precedent, demonstrating the risks that these systems were exposed to, and which until then had not been sufficiently taken into account.

Over recent years, new attacks have been discovered such as: Gauss, Flame, Red October, Dragonfly, The Mask and Duqu.

In early 2016, news emerged that Ukraine had suffered a malware attack, the objective of which was to destroy public infrastructure control systems. As a result of this attack, several electricity distributors were compromised by the Trojan BlackEnergy, leaving homes in the Ukrainian region of Ivano-Frankvisk (with a population of around 1.5 million) without electricity.

This was not an isolated case. Kiev Airport and several of the country's media outlets also suffered attacks of a similar nature, although in these cases they were detected in the initial stages and it was possible to remove the malware without any serious consequences.

The free course on Security in Control Systems and Industrial Automation, offered by INCIBE and for which registration is already open on Canvas Network, begins on 12 December and is intended to respond to this context. The principal objective is to provide a basic knowledge of control systems and automation and to demonstrate the problematic issue of specific security for these systems in the digital domain. This is the second edition of this course and the content has been updated to provide a comprehensive view.

Across its seven units, the course addresses the study of fundamental concepts in automation systems and industrial infrastructure control, in particular smart electricity grids, including PLC and RTU devices, SCADA, MES, BATCH and other systems as well as other fundamental aspects of cybersecurity that affect them. Aspects such as vulnerabilities, threats, risks, attack techniques and principals of best practice, principals of defence and existing security initiatives are all covered.

Professionals of the stature of Rubén Santamarta, Ayman AL-Issa and Patrick Miller have collaborated in developing the thematic units.

The programme consists of the following modules:

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Controls and Automation Systems
  • Unit 2: Detailed Study of Different Control Devices
  • Unit 3: Study of Fundamental Concepts of Industrial Communications
  • Unit 4: SCADA Systems, History and Other Applications
  • Unit 5: Detailed Study of Threats and Other Vulnerabilities
  • Unit 6: Presentation of Initiatives, Best Practice and Solutions
  • Unit 7: Virtual Visit and Security Demonstrations

By way of example, a video from Unit 7 is provided:


With a total study time of 52 hours, the course is aimed at professionals in IT cybersecurity with no experience or knowledge of industrial environments who are interested in specialising in this new discipline.

Therefore, the kinds of profiles this course is aimed at are:

  • Application, system and network technicians and administrators
  • IT Security managers
  • Technical staff on incident response teams and other areas relating to cybersecurity
  • Students in the following areas:
    • Technical studies relating to security IT Engineering, Telecommunications Engineering, Industrial Engineering, etc.
    • Postgraduate studies in Cybersecurity
    • Any other discipline relating to Cybersecurity

For more detailed information please visit the website https://www.incibe.es/formacion. On the website you can find all the information about signing up and accessing the course, along with the requirements and prior knowledge necessary.