Security Breach Detection

When I see most OT staff discuss ICS security, they usually begin with some networking gewgaws and tweaks. This sort of stuff is interesting the first few times going through this exercise. However, it doesn’t take long to realize that network security alone is a multi-headed hydra of a problem. The more we try and […]

Assigning Responsibility for ICS Security

Once the pain of a risk assessment is over, a few managers look at each other and decide on what changes they would like to make. Usually an IT expert comes in to install new network security hardware or someone is tasked with revising documentation; but rarely does anyone tinker with assigning responsibility. Nobody wants […]

How A Process Works

Understanding Industrial Process Control Buried among the design blue prints and volumes of handbooks, there are two documents of great significance to anyone who cares about ICS security. The names may be slightly different than what I’m calling them here, but the concept is the same. First is the Process Description. It is an overview […]

Beyond Risk Assessment

Understanding Industrial Security Before computer security was a thing, there was Industrial Security. It was primarily physical: Guards, Gates, Guns. The guards would periodically patrol the fence to ensure that there were no holes or evidence of tampering. They had guns to ward off direct attacks and to enforce policy within the plant. They would […]

Budget of ICS Security: Where is the ROI?

How Much to Budget? Many are flummoxed when working on budgets such as ICS Security. Security contains many aspects that are actually routine activities that we should be doing anyway, that actually do have an ROI. If a few minor improvements are made, it can be integrated in to security. Inventory For example, go to […]

Risk Assessments Are Not

The problem with discussing risk on a SCADA/ICS network, especially the way that most security guidelines describe it, is that it isn’t a linear function. In other words, the risk of A happening, B happening, and C happening is not A times B times C. That might be true with safety, but it is definitely […]

Succession Planning

After 31 years at the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) I’m eligible to retire. I will be starting a new position at Jacobs Engineering next month. My kids are looking at colleges and frankly, I need the money. I would happily stay with WSSC if I could afford to, but I can’t. In case you […]

Fun with Fiber Optics

I was swapping out a router today. Our old ones have served us long and well, but the vendor is no longer supporting them as they used to. We also had some creatures that I wanted to get rid of. On the wall in the telecommunications shelter there were three cheap 100Base-FX to 100BaseT converters, […]