Ivan Kirkpatrick
User Rank
Long Overdue
Ivan Kirkpatrick   10/6/2011 1:54:12 PM
This is long overdue.

The truth of the matter is that the US is extremely vulnerable on so many fronts in this cyber war.  We have so much of our infrastructure that is accessible through the various networks.  air traffic control and electrical generation and distribution systems are all vulnerable.  In fact it is a good bet they are already penetrated and sleeper code is in place to do harm when the controlling organization or country wants to initiate an attack.  I venture it is a safe bet that the US is the most vulnerable of any country.

Another long overdue consideration is that defense in cyberspace is far behind offensive capabilities.  Countries like North Korea are not as susceptible to cyber attack as we are.  They just don't have that much infrastructure to protect.

It will take a great deal of attention and money to bring this situation under control.  Embedded chips made in other countries may not be safe from malicious code being designed into the system fromt he beginning.  Detecting this and preventing it use will require additional efforts that might not be possible with the existing systems. 

Charles Murray
User Rank
Re: Long Overdue
Charles Murray   10/6/2011 6:41:17 PM
I agree, Ivan. This underscores the importance of recent "safety microcontroller" rollouts by TI, Freescale, and Renesas. The Embedded Systems Working Group is one more sign that we are collectively paying attention to vulnerabilities of power plants, air traffic control systems, financial systems and, yes, train yards.

William K.
User Rank
Trusted security effort might possibly protect factory networks.
William K.   10/7/2011 7:45:34 PM
The way to protect factory and any other important machine control networks is to not allow the capability of external modification to exist at all. Of course it is more convenient and cheaper to change the program and the parameters over the network. It is also not possible to have this ability and have it be secure, we all know that. But real security does have a real cost, which is that somebody would need to actually visit the controller and alter the program or settings. Any outside access is not completely secure, only fairly secure, and we all know that any security measures only last untill somebody cracks them. And that always happens.

So it becomes a trade-off of costs-which costs more, manual updates or hackers damage? Each can be calculated, and then a decision can be made.

Loring Wirbel
User Rank
Re: Trusted security effort might possibly protect factory networks.
Loring Wirbel   10/7/2011 8:01:28 PM
Thanks Ivan, Chuck, William for great points.  William, the ideal case you raised of a physical control over the hardware network might be re-interpreted by others to say a hard-wired physical-layer network, preferably fiber, should be used for changes in configuration.  Yet someone will always come in and demand wireless updates for reasons of cost, and all the best ideas for trusted systems fly out the window.  This TCG work will be interesting to watch.


William K.
User Rank
Protecting factory networks
William K.   10/9/2011 10:57:44 PM
The fact is that my assertion was that a primary way to be secure was to not have the capability present, not wired of fiber or wireless. Tha capability of remotely changing the program would not be present in the system. No, there is no question about it being less convenient, but a disaster is more inconvenient. But if the way to change a calibration or a program requires physicaly operating a switch at the machine, then all remote hackers are kept out. 

Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
A database containing information on over 16,000 tests done on 500 composites and other materials for wind turbine blades is now available free from Sandia National Laboratories.
Imagine being able to illegally download a physical product the same way you can with music and videos. That’s basically what’s happening with 3D printing and digital manufacturing, with huge repercussions in the intellectual property domain.
Our latest Design News Quick Poll reveals that readers are facing serious cyber security challenges.
Ford will be the first automaker to commercially use Alcoa's tough & fast Micromill aluminum alloy process and materials, debuting on several 2016 F-150 truck components. Alcoa will also license its Micromill process and materials technology to Danieli Group.
Even as an increasing number of instrument manufacturers migrate toward modern touch screens, many engineers say they still prefer the tactile feel of knobs and buttons, a new survey says.
Design News Webinar Series
10/1/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
9/10/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/20/2015 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
11/10/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Oct 19 - 23, Embedded System Design Techniques™ - Driver Design Patterns and the Internet
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6 |  7

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.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2015 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service