Very informative Al--great post. I'm not a programmer by any stretch of the imagination but I have wondered why programmers don't incorporate virus protection as an embed to the programs they write. (NOTE: Maybe they do but I'm not aware of it.) We depend upon external programs; i.e. Norton, AVG, Symantec, McAfee, etc. to provide protection but these are not always effective and must be upgraded frequently, sometimes weekly. Also, are there any programs that will interrogate the IP address of the hacker or sender? Again, very informative.
I'm surprised there hasn't been more traffic on this post. Perhaps that's an indication of the problem. As the post suggests, security must be structure, not veneer. The notion of a security patch is akin to the notion that you can fix a leak in the basement with a bit of caulking.
As the old saying goes 'it's all fun until someone loses an eye'. Even when a control system performs as intended, there's some chance of safety failures. However, a system cannot be considered safe unless it is rendered immune to external influences yet most integrators and users feel comfortable with a poorly thought out Maginot line of defence. In general, integrators and, worse, control system component suppliers (hardware and software) prefer to be agnostic to security issues expecting someone else to somehow provide an adequate defence - this has got to change. Many are the times I've sat through a presentation for an object/tag oriented controls package where the entire emphasis is on how easy it is to 'see' data and how easy it is to implement changes; so often, object manipulation is devoid of any semblance of change management or even basic validation of parameters: can you configure an unstable condition on a servo axis (what's stopping you)? Can you do it while the equipment is running? How much basic authentication is required?
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