Cyber security is on the mind of all of us. The Internet of Things, digital factory, Industry 4.0, and all of the new strategies for improving manufacturing and production efficiencies contain a common element. They all inherently contain connections that can possibly be attacked by cyber hackers.
We are all concerned with foreign government attacks that can blow up facilities, poison water supplies, and other doomsday scenarios we can imagine. However, most hackers are really after a pay day. A big pay day. They can hold your process—and your business—hostage until you fork over some cash.
I have had many interesting cybersecurity conversations with Albert Rooyakkers, founder and CEO of Bedrock Automation. He has built a powerful controller with security designed in from the chips on up. He’s been touting the “Open Secure Automation (OSA)” platform lately.
The company just released a new white paper on the cyber security vulnerabilities and defense of industrial control systems. The 20-page document, Securing Industrial Control Systems – Best Practices, covers the threat landscape and presents a holistic approach to defending it, including assessing risk, physical security, network security, workstation and server security, as well as the fundamentals of OSA.
I just read it and found it informative. You can download it here along with the previous three papers in the series.
“As we discuss cyber security with users of automation, we find that many are aware of the threat potential but are not sure if they are doing enough to protect themselves. We saw the need for a technical paper that explains both the mindset and motives of an attacker, as well as the tools and technologies of defense. This paper defines the issues in a practical, holistic way while providing recommendations on how to begin and sustain best practices for cyber defense,” said Rooyakkers.
The first half of the paper covers conventional cyber security practices that apply to all industrial control systems. It provides an assessment of the threats, including drive-by attacks, advanced persistent threats (APTs), espionage, process attacks, and ransomware. It also looks at assessing the related risks, with an introduction to Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) and Hazards and Operability (HAZOP) methodologies used to identify malfunctions that might harm people, the process, or the environment.
To assist with risk assessment, the paper provides an overview of conventional protection practices. This includes network segmentation, firewalls, and DMZs; managing workstations, servers, end-users, and applications; and implementing active defense measures, including security event monitoring and management.
The second part of the paper is devoted to more recent techniques, based on the application of intrinsic cyber security advances that have been applied in military, aerospace, and ecommerce, and are now being used to protect industrial control systems. These create a hardware end-point root of trust that combines advanced cryptography, digital signing techniques, an industrial certificate authority, and public key infrastructure (PKIs) built into the control system to create an infrastructure for user defense.
The paper also presents the features of the Bedrock Open Secure Automation platform, which embraces the best practices discussed and details the process by which they can be applied to legacy and new systems.