Adversaries may gather information about a PLCs or controllers current operating mode. Operating modes dictate what change or maintenance functions can be manipulated and are often controlled by a key switch on the PLC (e.g., run, prog [program], and remote). Knowledge of these states may be valuable to an adversary to determine if they are able to reprogram the PLC. Operating modes and the mechanisms by which they are selected often vary by vendor and product line. Some commonly implemented operating modes are described below:
|A0003||Programmable Logic Controller (PLC)|
Authenticate all access to field controllers before authorizing access to, or modification of, a device's state, logic, or programs. Centralized authentication techniques can help manage the large number of field controller accounts needed across the ICS.
All field controllers should restrict the modification of programs to only certain users (e.g., engineers, field technician), preferably through implementing a role-based access mechanism.
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 messages.
|M0804||Human User Authentication||
All field controllers should require users to authenticate for all remote or local management sessions. The authentication mechanisms should also support Account Use Policies, Password Policies, and User Account Management.
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. 
Segment operational network and systems to restrict access to critical system functions to predetermined management systems. 
|M0813||Software Process and Device Authentication||
Authenticate connections from software and devices to prevent unauthorized systems from accessing protected management functions.
|ID||Data Source||Data Component||Detects|
|DS0029||Network Traffic||Network Traffic Content||
Monitor ICS automation network protocols for functions related to reading an asset’s operating mode. In some cases, there may be multiple ways to detect a device’s operating mode, one of which is typically used in the operational environment. Monitor for the operating mode being checked in unexpected ways.