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DFRWS Challenge

About this Challenge

The DFRWS 2023 challenge takes a deep dive into the domain of Industrial Control Systems (ICS), specifically focusing on programmable logic controllers (PLC). This challenge aims to provide deeper insights into ICS network traffic analysis and device memory in a real-world scenario.

VCU College of Engineering

Example Video of a threat due to ICS

In this video, PhD student Wooyeon Jo demonstrates the effect of a troubled elevator. There are many other threats in ICS that are important. However, hardworking people fear that this threat may occur one day, and it's not just a dream.

What is ICS?

Industrial Control Systems (ICS) comprise of devices, systems, networks, and controls which is used to operate the industrial process. Each industry operates differently with the use of ICS operation.

What is PLC?

Programmable Logic Controler (PLC) is an industry computer that can control manufacturing processes by monitoring input devices and controling the output devices. The elevator is operated by a programmable logic controller (PLC). The PLC is able to move the elevator up and down and force the people inside to remain trapped.

Example Videos of ICS and PLC

More Examples of ICS Threats


Gas can pose as a hazard because it is flammable and can cause huge destruction.


Oil is flammable and can be explosive along with gas, which can cause severe in injuries and damages.


Electricity can cause power outages, as well as fires depending on faulty sockets.


Question 1

How can someone avoid the threats to ICS or what can people do in a situation where this occurs?

Question 2

Upon discovering a potential cyber attack on the elevator's PLC (Programmable Logic Controller), what are the first steps you should take as a digital forensic investigator?

Question 3

Can you identify the key moments of the attack based on analysis of memory and network dumps? Some people experience trauma and other mental disorders, how can we help those that have it?

Question 4

As a Digital Investigator, what actions and procedures should I take to help others during a threat posed by ICS?

More about ICS and PLC

Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are electronic moving parts that consist of varying material and size. An example is an arcade game claw machine. The claw is controlled by the person using a joystick to control the movement and a button to trigger the grab which would be the Programmable Logic Controller (PLC).

A Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) is a computer used for automation. The PLC receives information from sensors and input devices in which it can monitor and record data.

Why is it important?

Both ICS and PLC are important because they are used to automate processes and make work easier to complete.