HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
REGISTER   |   LOGIN   |   HELP
Blogs
Blog
Can Your iPhone Bring Down a Plant?
6/28/2013

A layout of the new networked plant.
A layout of the new networked plant.

Return to Article

View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Page 1/7  >  >>
TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
3 levels to the plant
TJ McDermott   6/28/2013 10:13:24 AM
NO RATINGS
Rob, this is a terrific article; it points out a continuing significant problem.

The better Etherenet arcitectures I've seen have an outer office-type network that is connected to the internet, a middle level used for supervisory control of the plant, and an inner for machine level control.

IT departments will have to become more agile.  Our continuing trend of doing more with fewer people REQUIRES this.

Last week I was in a plant which had a SCADA server stop communicating with plant-floor HMI terminals.  The engineer most knowledgable about the servers was out of the building, but used her smart-phone to remotely reboot it and get the floor functioning again.

Her plant did have very good security yet permitted the flexibility of remote access which permitted rapid response to problems.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3 levels to the plant
Rob Spiegel   6/28/2013 10:41:04 AM
NO RATINGS
That remote acess sounds great, and it solved a problem in the moment -- but -- if she became a disgruntled employee, the plant would be at her mercy. 

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3 levels to the plant
TJ McDermott   6/28/2013 10:54:39 AM
NO RATINGS
Rob, proper security would end her access upon her termination of employment.  But that problem isn't limited to remote access.  A disgruntled IT employee can cause far more damage from within than without.  That is a completely different problem.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3 levels to the plant
Rob Spiegel   6/28/2013 11:14:27 AM
NO RATINGS
Good point, TJ. But I do remember that when I asked what was the greatest threat to plant security systems, time after time, I heard, "A disgruntled former employee. One threat I heard less frequently -- but seems to me a bigger threat -- is the inadvertent attack from a malware bug that enters the system when an employee loads some music onto a workstation. 

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: 3 levels to the plant
Charles Murray   6/28/2013 6:01:14 PM
NO RATINGS
What a great article. This really points out the serious security threats posed by the plant's connection to the ERP system. Recently, we've heard a lot about theft of corporate intellectual property in big companies. But stuffing documents in a brief case will soon be passe. This is much scarier.

notarboca
User Rank
Gold
Standards
notarboca   6/30/2013 1:38:04 AM
NO RATINGS
"This topic has become very heightened. The Obama Administration has gotten involved and they're developing standards"

The last thing the industrial IT community needs is for the government to set standards.  They should do it for themselves.  Rue the day when governments try to tell people how to run their own IT shop.

AnandY
User Rank
Gold
Web browsers
AnandY   7/1/2013 5:02:58 AM
NO RATINGS
Web browsers on smartphones have gotten a lot better, but the web is a major source of malicious code. With a small screen of smartphones, it's more difficult for users to detect that a site is a phishing site. The malware can then be transferred onto the network from the phone.

AnandY
User Rank
Gold
Security bypass
AnandY   7/1/2013 5:10:26 AM
NO RATINGS
Some smart phones OS bypass security mechanisms for user's convinenece. This makes it a lot easier and less frustrating for smart phones to connect to any plant's devices, but it also defeats the purpose of those security measures.

AnandY
User Rank
Gold
VPN
AnandY   7/1/2013 5:37:45 AM
NO RATINGS
Most of the smartphones users connect to public Wi-Fi. If users connect their phones, containing company information, to an unsecured Wi-Fi network then a real security issue is created. If the same smartphone is connected back to the corporate network over a public Wi-Fi network, it could put the entire company network at risk. Users should be required to connect to the company network via an SSL VPN, so that the data traveling between the phone and the company network will be encrypted in transit and can't be read if it's intercepted.

AnandY
User Rank
Gold
BYOD security policy
AnandY   7/1/2013 5:43:02 AM
NO RATINGS
Many corporations that allow employees to use their own mobile devices at work implement a BYOD security policy. BYOD security can be addressed by having IT provide detailed security requirements for each type of personal device that is used in the workplace and connected to the corporate network.

IT may require devices to be configured with passwords, prohibit specific types of applications from being installed on the device or require all data on the device to be encrypted. Other BYOD security policy initiatives may include limiting activities that employees are allowed to perform on these devices at work like email usage is limited to corporate email accounts only.

Page 1/7  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
These are the toys that inspired budding engineers to try out sublime designs, create miniature structures, and experiment with bizarre contraptions using sets that could be torn down and reconstructed over and over.
PowerStream is deploying the microgrid at its headquarters to demonstrate how people can generate and distribute their own energy and make their homes and businesses more sustainable through renewables.
Printrbot unveils its all-metal Printrbot Simple, bringing durability to low-cost 3D printers.
Design News Webinar Series
3/27/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
2/27/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
12/18/2013 Available On Demand
11/20/2013 Available On Demand
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Apr 21 - 25, Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: April 29 - Day 1
Sponsored by maxon precision motors
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service