Date of Award

Summer 8-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Computer Science


Computer Science

Major Professor

Ahmed, Irfan

Second Advisor

Roussev, Vassil

Third Advisor

Zibran, Minhaz F.


In this thesis work we present CLIK, a new, automated, remote attack on the control logic of a programmable logic controller (PLC) in industrial control systems. The CLIK attack modifies the control logic running in a remote target PLC automatically to disrupt a physical process. We implement the CLIK attack on a real PLC. The attack is initiated by subverting the security measures that protect the control logic in a PLC. We found a critical (zero-day) vulnerability, which allows the attacker to overwrite password hash in the PLC during the authentication process. Next, CLIK retrieves and decompiles the original logic and injects a malicious logic into it and then, transfers the infected logic back to the PLC. To hide the infection, we propose a virtual PLC that engages the software the virtual PLC intercepts the request and then, responds with the original (uninfected) control logic to the software.


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