Manipulation of Control

Adversaries may manipulate physical process control within the industrial environment. Methods of manipulating control can include changes to set point values, tags, or other parameters. Adversaries may manipulate control systems devices or possibly leverage their own, to communicate with and command physical control processes. The duration of manipulation may be temporary or longer sustained, depending on operator detection.

Methods of Manipulation of Control include:

  • Man-in-the-middle
  • Spoof command message
  • Changing setpoints

A Polish student used a remote controller device to interface with the Lodz city tram system in Poland. [1] [2] [3] Using this remote, the student was able to capture and replay legitimate tram signals. As a consequence, four trams were derailed and twelve people injured due to resulting emergency stops. [2] The track controlling commands issued may have also resulted in tram collisions, a further risk to those on board and nearby the areas of impact. [3]

ID: T0831
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Tactic: Impact
Platforms: None
Version: 1.0
Created: 21 May 2020
Last Modified: 24 May 2022

Procedure Examples

ID Name Description
S0604 Industroyer

Industroyer toggles breakers to the open state utilizing unauthorized command messages. [4]

C0009 Oldsmar Treatment Plant Intrusion

During the Oldsmar Treatment Plant Intrusion, the threat actors utilized an operator HMI to manipulate process control setpoint values far beyond normal operating levels.[5]

S0603 Stuxnet

Stuxnet can reprogram a PLC and change critical parameters in such a way that legitimate commands can be overridden or intercepted. In addition, Stuxnet can apply inappropriate command sequences or parameters to cause damage to property. [6]


ID Mitigation Description
M0802 Communication Authenticity

Protocols used for control functions should provide authenticity through MAC functions or digital signatures. If not, utilize bump-in-the-wire devices or VPNs to enforce communication authenticity between devices that are not capable of supporting this (e.g., legacy controllers, RTUs).

M0953 Data Backup

Take and store data backups from end user systems and critical servers. Ensure backup and storage systems are hardened and kept separate from the corporate network to prevent compromise. Maintain and exercise incident response plans [7], including the management of gold-copy back-up images and configurations for key systems to enable quick recovery and response from adversarial activities that impact control, view, or availability.

M0810 Out-of-Band Communications Channel

Utilize out-of-band communication to validate the integrity of data from the primary channel.