HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Page 1/2  >  >>
Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Rethinking the cyber threat
Beth Stackpole   8/7/2012 9:08:36 AM
NO RATINGS
I definitely think organizations' attention is so fixated on security concerns surrounding their traditional information technology (IT) systems, that the factory floor is often overlooked in the equation. Also, production floor automation systems are oftentimes under a different domain and run by a separate entity than the CIO-led IT departments where security and hacking has been a top concern for years. Great to see that this issue is coming front and center. It's just as important to safeguard the lifeblood of a company's operations nerve center as it is to ensure the security of its data assets.

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Hacking the Factory Floor
apresher   8/7/2012 9:08:45 AM
NO RATINGS
It's a sad commentary when network security to protect the factory floor ends up becoming such an important task, versus other so much more productive projects.  But unfortunately this is the world we live in.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Who wants to crack the system?
Rob Spiegel   8/7/2012 11:23:33 AM
NO RATINGS
This is an important subject, Rich. Over the past couple years, I've done a number of stories on security and the factory floor. I was curious too about who would want to hack into a plant's control system. The answer I received over and over was a disgruntled employee. This is the one person who has a motive and knows where all the buttons and levers are in the system.

Security is also a battleground between the control staff and the IT staff. IT says, we have to load patches and reboot. Control says, we're not going to shut down the plant to put in a patch. 

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Who wants to crack the system?
tekochip   8/7/2012 1:58:03 PM
NO RATINGS
That depends upon what you manufacture.  Don't forget that PLCs in Iran's nuclear plant were infected with a virus. 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Hacking the Factory Floor
Ann R. Thryft   8/7/2012 2:25:51 PM
NO RATINGS
The factory floor used to be unhackable back when all the controller interfaces and comm systems were proprietary and not connected to the Internet, or even to the company's own IT system. Ethernet connectivity has changed everything.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Who wants to crack the system?
Rob Spiegel   8/7/2012 3:15:35 PM
NO RATINGS
Good point, Tekochip. I had been talking primarily with those who run domestic plants. They did not believe terrorism was a significant threat. 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Hacking the Factory Floor
Rob Spiegel   8/7/2012 3:22:26 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, Ann, connectivity has changed everything in the plant. The control engineers were dragged into this kicking and screaming. Now they have vendors who are monitoring, even running, various aspects of plant operations, from maintenance to diagnostics to optimization.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Hacking the Factory Floor
TJ McDermott   8/7/2012 3:31:33 PM
NO RATINGS
Ann, Stuxnet got into Iran's nuclear program even though there was an air gap.

Flash drives are potentially more dangerous than having a plant connected to the internet.  A simple way to social-engineer access into a factory is to load a virus payload onto several high capacity flash drive and scatter them on the ground in the target's parking lot.

Very few people would resist picking it up thinking it was their lucky day.  If they're scattered in the early morning, then the loaded drive goes into the building, where it gets slotted into a work computer to see what's there.

Some companies have policies against flash drives, and some of them even institute Group Policies (through their network) to prevent USB ports from being used for mass storage, but they are the very small exception.

williamlweaver
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Hacking the Factory Floor
williamlweaver   8/7/2012 3:34:26 PM
NO RATINGS
I guess we should be just as surprised about the importance of Factory Floor Network Security as we were surprised by the importance of Y2K. We all knew it was a problem, but there was little concerted push to fix it until we scrambled to avert a catastrophe.
 
I'm not a huge fan of government regulations, but I can support the need for regulations concerning cybersecurity. In addition to clamping down on access from outside networks, I would hope that simple security measures such as multi-parameter identity verification and multi-user moderation would be a strong first step. Hollywood currently depicts cybersecurity breaches as easy as stealing a photo ID key card from an unsuspecting employee.
 
Requiring multi-parameter login identity verification and then requiring all program modifications and confidential data accesses to be approved by a moderator would stop both an unknown intruder and a lone disgruntled employee from being able to log in, access confidential data, and starting the self-destruct sequence...


Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Hacking the Factory Floor
Ann R. Thryft   8/8/2012 1:23:00 PM
NO RATINGS
TJ, good point about flash drives, although security experts generally say that internet connections are at least as dangerous. Another big point of entry has been handheld devices, although those have become a lot more secure.

Page 1/2  >  >>


Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
An Israeli design student has created a series of unique pieces of jewelry that can harvest energy from default movements of the body and even use human blood as a way to conduct energy.
Made By Monkeys highlights products that somehow slipped by the QC cops.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
New software from Carnegie Mellon allows 2D objects -- digital photos, old photos, and even paintings -- to be manipulated in 3D using models found online.
Sharon Glotzer and David Pine are hoping to create the first liquid hard drive with liquid nanoparticles that can store 1TB per teaspoon. They aren't the first to find potential data stores, as Harvard researchers have stored 700 TB inside a gram of DNA.
More:Blogs|News
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Aug 18 - 22, Embedded Software Development With Python & the Raspberry Pi
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


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: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service