What Features Should an RTU Have?

People may not realize that the concept of the RTU is morphing. In decades past, we were merely looking for something that could report an event. But the goal-posts have moved. So what should an RTU really look like these days? Let’s look at some features: First, the RTU needs to have a clock. As […]

Uninterruptible Power Systems? HAH!

I’m ranting again. This is a recurring plague for me. Allow me to just get this out of my system right now: DELIVER ME FROM THOSE AWFUL OFFICE-GRADE UPS BOXES! I hate the damned things. Why? Because some idiot who can’t be bothered to deal with the more difficult issues just grabs one off the […]

Patching and Upgrading PLC Systems

A certain well known vendor of PLC equipment has been earning some heat from me recently. I’m not mentioning names because frankly, all of these big name vendors are facing the same problems. The issue is that even if we didn’t find sufficient reason to patch programs in a PLC, we’re finding that we have […]

The lack of comprehensive investigation and sharing of lessons from industrial control system incidents will continue to leave others as sitting ducks.

This past week news has surfaced about cyber-attacks directed against German industry. In particular about a suspected case of cyber espionage at ThyssenKrupp (1) (2). The announcement that a German steel maker was cyber attacked reminded me about the 2014 German Federal Government IT Department’s (BSI) report of a cyber-attack at an unidentified steel mill […]

Physical Layer Concerns

One of the more troublesome aspects of a control system is detecting when the I/O is broken versus a security problem of some sort. This is one of the keys between knowing that you’re being hacked versus having some sort of hardware failure. With that in mind, these are some measures I have found to […]

Raising cybersecurity awareness during a seminar on the future of energy policy and economy is not an easy thing to do.

“Although you cross the Atlantic for years and have ice reported and never see it, at other times it’s not reported and you do see it.” – Charles Lightoller, Titanic Second Officer (speaking at the public inquiry into the sinking) In one of my recent lectures on “The cybersecurity dimension of critical energy infrastructure” I […]

Thoughts on possible misconceptions over the cybersecurity of the energy sector

“The pump don’t work, cause the vandals took the handles” – Bob Dylan The use of high technology (information technology and telecommunications) has entered almost every aspect of our lives. You name a sector and it is there: finance, trade, energy, communications, transportation, even education and healthcare. High tech is what modern society is built […]

Simulations don’t have to be expensive or labor intensive in order to explain key concepts about IT and ICS security

It can be hard to understand amidst all the IT biased (towards Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of information) cybersecurity hoopla how today’s IT threats emanating from cyberspace can affect industrial control systems. IT security questions can be hard to understand for the ICS practitioner (who leans towards different security priorities of Safety, Availability, Integrity and […]