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Can Your iPhone Bring Down a Plant?

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Tool_maker
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Re: Bring down a line? Or the whiole plant?
Tool_maker   7/2/2013 11:14:47 AM
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  Just because someone defeated a system once, at manufacture is no reason to think it neccesarily will happen again. many things are done a First Time and then people learn. Remember the passengers brought down flight 88 before it could reach its target once they realized what was happening.

 It is just logical that a closed loop wired system will be more secure. I wrote a ton of papers on my old DOS machine that stood alone, created designs delivered by print and/or disk and kept track of all of my billing and bank accounts. My only fear was some clown who would want to shove some disk in to share a "Really Neat Program". Touch it and you die.

  All of this automated, wireless, paperless and anything else less, reminds me of lines from an old Creedence Clearwater Rivival song.

"Rushing through the treadmill,

Rushing to get home,

Worry 'bout the time you save".

  I would not alllow a smartphone on the shop floor and maybe not even in the company. As for music, I do not think tuning in a local FM station will cause any system crashes.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Smartphone for Plant operation
Rob Spiegel   7/2/2013 10:35:22 AM
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Mydesign, a number of vendors are developing apps to allow control engineers to access the plant system via an iPhone. Opto22 is one, and there are a bunch of others.

Elizabeth M
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Re: 3 levels to the plant
Elizabeth M   7/2/2013 10:24:44 AM
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Well-written and comprehensive article about many aspects to this growing concern as more and more smartphones are making their way into the realm of connected networks. This will become even more pressing as the Internet of things becomes a reality.

Mydesign
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Smartphone for Plant operation
Mydesign   7/2/2013 3:35:32 AM
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1 saves
Rob, what I understood is most of the smartphones are becoming at par with laptop and desktop in terms of computing power. So I think it's possible to control the entire function through smartphones, but how? That answer yet to be find.

William K.
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Re: Bring down a line? Or the whiole plant?
William K.   7/1/2013 9:15:48 PM
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Rob, of course it is almost always easier to go wireless, just as it is easier to leave your keys in the door lock, and easier to not lock the car at all. But many times the way to achieve the results that one wants require more than an absolute minimum effort. And those who refuse to deliver more than a minimum effort don't get any sympathy from me.

All of my customers are quite happy with my charges because they know that I never do a job using only the minimum possible effort. Almost always it is possible to deliver a much better value for "a bit" more effort. While delivering only the minimum to achieve the goal, only just barely, represents the best very short term return on investment, it seldom delivers the greatest long term value.

My point being that using a wired connection instead of a wireless connection does in fact deliver more security.

I now realize that STUXNET was not the best example of a serious virus passed through the internet, but that it is defintely an example of how sophisticated hacking can be.

Thinking_J
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Re: Bring down a line? Or the whiole plant?
Thinking_J   7/1/2013 8:57:46 PM
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William Your example.. (Stuxnet) illustrates just how pointless the networking security question is.

And how pointless physical security is.

The stuxnet infected machines were not on a network with any connection to the outside world. The machines were infected during the burning of the boot ROMs (installed during the manufacturing of the computer's motherboard)  Nothing else was required. No wireless networks. No network connections to the internet. No network connections to other parts of the facility. No getting past physical barriers required. The people building the computers didn't know of stuxnet. The people installing the computers didn't know. The people monitoring the computers didn't know.

The Stuxnet virus looked for a local network connection with specific hardware (xx number of centrifuges of a specific make)... before doing anything (randomly screwing with their speeds).

Do you think any normally implemented hardware or software security system could have detected it? The answer is no.

It took an exceptional individual spending hundreds of hours in a completely different part of the world ..working a completely different problem to discover it.

The solution to security isn't going to come from "the usual suspects".

 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Bring down a line? Or the whiole plant?
Rob Spiegel   7/1/2013 8:04:46 PM
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That makes sense, William K. Problem is, many plants want to take advantage of wireless systems for hard-to-get-to devices.

William K.
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Platinum
Bring down a line? Or the whiole plant?
William K.   7/1/2013 7:10:52 PM
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The way to keep machines on a line secure even while smart phones are all around is to not have any wireless anything connected to those machines. Wired connections to a separate network that does not have internet access at any point, nor wireless access anywhere. Protection schemes that use only software are way less than completely secure, no matter who makes what assertions some may make. Remember "STUXNET" and how well it passed right through all kinds of security walls and fences. Just because one team sees no way to hack into a machine is no reason to believe somebody else can't do it. 

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: I -PHONE
Rob Spiegel   7/1/2013 6:03:10 PM
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Bobjengr, I would certainly guess the banning of cell phones is related to security rather than productivity. Cell phones are certainly welcomed in every other job setting. You have a good question about nuclear plants. Yikes.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Cyber intrusion
Rob Spiegel   7/1/2013 5:57:43 PM
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J-allen, it sounds like that procedure would work, but can that approach hold out against the flood of new technology? Isn't that like holding back a wave? Or perhaps holding back the wind.

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