New IT/OT Features Increase Visibility, Security and Control

Cybersecurity news continues to lead inputs to my inbox. Tenable has much news coming. This one has been waiting for a while for me to clear a lot of other news. This is an update to Tenable.ot to v3.14.

Four new capabilities in Tenable.ot

1. Deeper coverage of segmented assets — Active Sensors queries devices that are otherwise invisible to passive scanners — even if they are in a separate, isolated or non-routable network. 

2. New sensor management capabilities — New sensor management capabilities provide better control and context to make the best security decisions. You can even deploy sensors on virtual machines and manage them through a single interface.

3. Consolidated global dashboard reporting — Enhanced global dashboard reporting helps security teams quickly gather telemetry from across the OT environment. User-configurable widgets make it easy to group assets by type, events, policies and risk scores. Security teams can efficiently identify high-risk assets and communicate risk effectively so executives can make informed decisions on business initiatives. ​

4. In-product signature and detection feed — The signature and detection feed assures you’re running the latest plugins. 

Collaboration For Large-Scale Green Hydrogen Production

The large process automation suppliers are racing for leadership in green hydrogen production. You could search hydrogen on the blog to see the latest news. This one updates a new initiative by ABB Ventures.

  • ABB and Hydrogen Optimized announced a collaboration that positions companies for global leadership in large-scale green hydrogen production systems.
  • Combined technological offerings will include Hydrogen Optimized’s RuggedCell high-power water electrolyzers and ABB’s high-power rectifiers.
  • The two companies consolidated their alliance with a new commercial agreement signed at a hydrogen trade show in Stephenville, Newfoundland, attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
  • This includes an investment by ABB into Key DH Technologies Inc. (KEY), the parent company of HOI
  • Global electrolyzer capacity will reach an estimated 3,100 gigawatts by 2050, according to a June 2022 report published by DNV. The group forecasts that electricity-based green hydrogen will be the dominant form of hydrogen production by the middle of this century, accounting for 72 percent of output.

Advanced Physical Layer Project Successfully Completed

Advanced Physical Layer (APL) for Ethernet generated much hype for quite some time. Product may be coming your way before too long.

After almost 4 years of close and fruitful collaboration among the four leading standards development organizations, FieldComm Group, ODVA, OPC Foundation, and PROFIBUS & PROFINET International (PI), combined with significant support from 12 major industry project partners, the participants are pleased to announce a successful completion of the APL Project. The result is a completely available 10Mbit technology for a new two-wire, Intrinsically Safe Physical Layer called Ethernet-APL.

The main results of the APL Project are port profile specifications to create the Ethernet-APL solution for multiple power levels with and without explosion hazardous area protection, engineering guidelines and best practices for planning and installation, and conformance test specifications and test tools. As a single physical layer, Ethernet-APL supports EtherNet/IP, HART-IP, OPC UA, PROFINET, or any other higher-level network protocol.

The APL Project has also worked with semiconductor manufacturers to bring 10BASE-T1L Phy chipsets for Ethernet-APL to market. 

BASF and Procter & Gamble have demonstrated that Ethernet-APL has very good suitability for use in process applications through their internal testing.

Rust Foundation Establishes Security Team

Do you program in Rust? Me neither. I had barely heard of it. I received this news. Valuable if you use Rust. Interesting for any other language to think about security within a language.

The Rust Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and sustaining the Rust programming language, announced Sept. 13, 2022 it is establishing a dedicated security team. The team is being underwritten with generous support from the OpenSSF’s Alpha-Omega Initiative, which partners with open source software projects and maintainers to improve the global software supply chain security, and Rust Foundation’s newest Platinum member JFrog. 

These investments from Alpha-Omega and JFrog include dedicated staff resources that will enable the Rust Foundation to create and implement security best practices. The first initiative for the new Security Team will be to undertake a security audit and threat modeling exercises to identify how security can be economically maintained going forward. The team will also help advocate for security practices across the Rust landscape, including Cargo and Crates.io, and will be a resource for the maintainer community.

JFrog just last week announced it is joining the Rust Foundation at the Platinum level. As part of the company’s investment in the Rust Foundation and ecosystem, JFrog has committed members of its Security Research team to work on the Rust Foundation Security Team. JFrog joins AWS, Google, Huawei, Meta, Microsoft, and Mozilla at the Platinum level. 

Emerson Adds Wind Power Technolgy

Emerson sent me a number of renewable energy technology news releases and a live discussion over the past couple of months. I wrote about hydrogen a couple of months ago. These news items talk about wind power technology.

[This is also a good time to promote a new book, The Carbon Almanac, ideal for everyone to learn about what they can do to reduce carbon generation.]

Support China’s Carbon Reduction Goals

Emerson, a global technology and software company, will provide integrated wind automation solutions and services to Taiyuan Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. for three greenfield wind farms located in Shanxi Province, China, a region experiencing high growth in its renewable generation base. Emerson’s wind turbine control software and expertise combined with TYHI wind turbines will deliver green energy to over 35 million residents located in Beijing and other Northern China cities.

The technology includes Emerson’s wind turbine controls and SCADA software.

The wind farms are scheduled for commercial operation in 2023.

Emerson Acquires Mita-Teknik

Emerson announced it has acquired Mita-Teknik in an all-cash transaction. Founded in 1969, Mita-Teknik is a leader in the control automation business for wind power generation, equipping wind turbines and wind farms with technologies for performance and reliability. This acquisition is complementary to Emerson’s existing control system portfolio and supports the company’s ability to help customers in their quest to digitally transform operations and meet sustainability goals.

Reliable Degassing in Battery Cell Production

The rise of electric vehicle sales increased demand for battery manufacturing. Many applications come my way. This example is something Festo can do with pneumatic and electric actuators.

In an active demonstration, as shown in this YouTube video of the demo, pneumatic and electric actuators from Festo handle and pierce battery cells.

At the center of a degassing demonstration is the process chamber. A cantilever handling system based on Festo’s spindle axes ELGT ensures dynamic and safe loading and unloading of the process chambers. The compact and cost-effective spindle axes ELGT, with integrated double guide, is ideal for creating 2D and 3D cantilever systems. As a 3D delivery system, for example, it packs up to 20 kg at speeds of up to 0.5 m/s. With a copper and zinc content of less than one percent, the axis is perfect for use in assembly systems in battery production or in small parts handling.

During the degassing process, the process chamber is evacuated using VZQA process valves. The VZQA’s open architecture makes these valves durable, energy-efficient, easy to maintain, and flexible. They are a suitable alternative to conventional valves such as diaphragm valves or ball valves. The pressure switch SPAN-B from Festo monitors the pressure in the process chamber.