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IEEE CommMag: Security of ICS Protocols 2022 : IEEE Communications Magazine (Feature Topic): Security of Communication Protocols in Industrial Control Systems (ICS)


When N/A
Where N/A
Submission Deadline Sep 30, 2022
Notification Due Jan 15, 2023
Final Version Due Feb 1, 2023
Categories    ICS   communication protocols   security

Call For Papers

Deadline extended: September 30, 2022 (firm)
IEEE Communications Magazine (ComMag) is a flagship publication of the
IEEE Communications Society and the world’s most recognized magazine in
Telecommunications with a top-ranking Impact Factor.

We would like to invite you to submit your manuscript to IEEE Communications
Magazine for Feature Topic: Security of Communication Protocols in Industrial
Control Systems (ICS).

Call for Papers

The term ‘Industrial Control System’ (ICS) refers to a collection of integrated
devices, systems, networks, and controls whose objective is to monitor, operate,
and/or automate industrial processes. Nowadays, ICSs can be found in almost every
industrial sector, including transportation, manufacturing, distribution, critical
infrastructure, etc. Many of these ICSs are also integrated with physical processes
that have direct implications on matters of public health and safety, as well as
national economics and security. There is a common consensus in the cyber security
community that attacks on ICSs have the potential to create considerably higher
level of disruption relative to comparable attacks on traditional IT systems. For
this very same reason, ICSs have become the ‘target of choice’ for many cyber
criminal groups and nation state actors looking for ways to maximize the impact
and payoffs of their attack efforts.

Early on in their deployment, most ICS networks ran on proprietary communication
protocols and operated entirely in isolation from outside IT systems. Also,
historically, ICS networks were expected to support critical system functions,
in real-time and over prolonged intervals, and in environments consisting of many
diverse devices. As a result, fault-tolerance, reliability, and interoperability
were the main objectives in the design of most vendor-specific and open-source ICS
communication protocols. This also meant that many ICS protocols were originally
released with no inherent provisions for security (e.g., encryption, integrity,
authentication), or security was added to them simply as an afterthought. To this
day, many specialized ICS protocols remain reliant on security protections of
other communication layers and protocols, such as TLS.

Over the past few years, there has been a steady rise in the number of ICSs that
have undergone (or are awaiting) seamless integration with the Cloud, external IoT,
and/or remote IT systems. And while the meshing of ICS networks with outside systems
can brings tremendous business opportunities, it is also known to introduce a
significant number of new security challenges. For example, ICS integration with
external systems implies an expanded network surface and a need to support a wider
range of IP-based protocols. Both of these, in turn, make the respective ICS networks
susceptible to an increased number of direct (insider) attacks as well as a whole
slew of outside attacks that ICS networks traditionally did not have to deal with.

The goal of this feature topic is to explore the most recent research and developments
related to security of networks and communication protocols in industrial control
systems. Prospective authors are invited to submit original high-quality contributions
dealing with vulnerability analysis and security-driven re-engineering of industry-
standard ICS protocols, such as: Profibus, Profinet, DNP3, Serial Modbus, ModbusTCP,
OPC, BACnet, CIP, EtherCAT, S7Comm, MQTT, CoAP, etc. Additional topics of interest
include, but are not limited to the important role of ICS protocols in the facilitation
or prevention of the following types of intrusions, as well as protocol modifications
or revisions to address the vulnerabilities:

• active or passive reconnaissance of ICS networks
• gaining of unauthorized local or remote access to ICS networks
• attacks on CIA of data in-transit and data in-rest in ICSs
• attacks on CIA of processes and systems in ICSs
• creation of covert data exfiltration tunnels in ICSs
• spreading and execution of malicious payloads in ICSs
• creation of command & control channels in infected ICSs
• disruption of physical operations in target ICSs

Submission Guidelines:

Manuscripts should conform to the standard format as indicated in the Information
for Authors section of the Manuscript Submission Guidelines. Please, check these
guidelines carefully before submitting since submissions not complying with them
will be administratively rejected without review.

All manuscripts to be considered for publication must be submitted by the deadline
through Manuscript Central. Select the “FT-2215/Security of Communication Protocols”
topic from the drop-down menu of Topic/Series titles. Please observe the dates
specified here below noting that there will be no extension of submission deadline.

Important Dates:

Manuscript Submission Deadline - extended: 30 September, 2022 (firm)
Decision Notification: 15 January 2022
Final Manuscript Due: 1 February 2023
Tentative Publication Date: April 2023

Guest Editors:
Natalija Vlajic, York University, Canada (
Jelena Mirkovic, USC ISI, USA (
Robert Noce, SAP North America, USA (

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