Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Corliss, Geroge

Second Advisor

Brown, Ronald H.

Third Advisor

Povinelli, Richard J.


This thesis explores cybersecurity from the perspective of the Marquette University GasDay lab. We analyze three different areas of cybersecurity in three independent chapters. Our goal is to improve the cybersecurity capabilities of GasDay, Marquette University, and the natural gas industry. We present network penetration testing as a process of attempting to gain access to resources of GasDay without prior knowledge of any valid credentials. We discuss our method of identifying potential targets using industry standard reconnaissance methods. We outline the process of attempting to gain access to these targets using automated tools and manual exploit creation. We propose several solutions to those targets successfully exploited and recommendations for others. Next, we discuss GasDay Web and techniques to validate the security of a web-based GasDay software product. We use a form of penetration testing specifically targeted for a website. We demonstrate several vulnerabilities that are able to cripple the availability of the website and recommendations to mitigate these vulnerabilities. We then present the results of performing an inspection of GasDay Web code to uncover vulnerabilities undetectable by automated tools and make suggestions on their fixes. We discuss recommendations on how vulnerabilities can be mitigated or detected in the future. Finally, we apply the NIST Cybersecurity Framework to GasDay. We present the Department of Energy recommendations for the natural gas industry. Using these recommendations and the NIST Framework, we evaluate the overall cybersecurity maturity of the GasDay lab. We present several recommendations where GasDay could improve the maturity levels that are cost-effective and easy to implement. We identify several items missing from a cybersecurity plan and propose methods to implement them. The results of this thesis show that cybersecurity at a research lab is difficult. We demonstrate that even as a member of Marquette University, GasDay cannot rely on Marquette for cybersecurity. We show that the primary obstacle is lack of information - about cybersecurity and the assets GasDay controls. We make recommendations on how these items can be effectively created and managed.