Spoof Reporting Message

Adversaries may spoof reporting messages in control system environments for evasion and to impair process control. In control systems, reporting messages contain telemetry data (e.g., I/O values) pertaining to the current state of equipment and the industrial process. Reporting messages are important for monitoring the normal operation of a system or identifying important events such as deviations from expected values.

If an adversary has the ability to Spoof Reporting Messages, they can impact the control system in many ways. The adversary can Spoof Reporting Messages that state that the process is operating normally, as a form of evasion. The adversary could also Spoof Reporting Messages to make the defenders and operators think that other errors are occurring in order to distract them from the actual source of a problem. [1]

In the Maroochy Shire attack, the adversary used a dedicated analog two-way radio system to send false data and instructions to pumping stations and the central computer.[2]

ID: T0856
Sub-techniques:  No sub-techniques
Platforms: Control Server
Version: 1.1
Created: 21 May 2020
Last Modified: 20 October 2022


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).

M0937 Filter Network Traffic

Perform inline allowlisting of automation protocol commands to prevent devices from sending unauthorized command or reporting messages. Allow/denylist techniques need to be designed with sufficient accuracy to prevent the unintended blocking of valid reporting messages.

M0807 Network Allowlists

Use host-based allowlists to prevent devices from accepting connections from unauthorized systems. For example, allowlists can be used to ensure devices can only connect with master stations or known management/engineering workstations. [3]

M0930 Network Segmentation

Segment operational assets and their management devices based on their functional role within the process. Enabling more strict isolation to more critical control and operational information within the control environment. [4] [5] [3] [6]

M0813 Software Process and Device Authentication

Devices should authenticate all messages between master and outstation assets.


ID Data Source Data Component Detects
DS0029 Network Traffic Network Traffic Content

Spoofed reporting messages may be detected by reviewing the content of automation protocols, either through detecting based on expected values or comparing to other out of band process data sources. Spoofed messages may not precisely match legitimate messages which may lead to malformed traffic, although traffic may be malformed for many benign reasons. Monitor reporting messages for changes in how they are constructed.

Various techniques enable spoofing a reporting message. Consider monitoring for Rogue Master and Adversary-in-the-Middle activity.

Network Traffic Flow

Various techniques enable spoofing a reporting message. Consider monitoring for Rogue Master and Adversary-in-the-Middle activity which may precede this technique.

DS0040 Operational Databases Device Alarm

Monitor asset logs for alarms or other information the adversary is unable to directly suppress. Relevant alarms include those from a loss of communications due to Adversary-in-the-Middle activity.

DS0024 Windows Registry Windows Registry Key Modification

Various techniques enable spoofing a reporting message. Monitor for LLMNR/NBT-NS poisoning via new services/daemons which may be used to enable this technique. For added context on adversary procedures and background see LLMNR/NBT-NS Poisoning and SMB Relay.