The Stuxnet computer worm was discovered in 2010. It targets Siemens PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) through Siemens Step7 software. Through a rootkit, Stuxnet can control VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) attached to the PLC. Allegedly, it damaged or destroyed many Iranian centrifuges. More information about the Stuxnet infection process can be found at http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/exploring-stuxnet-s-plc-infection-process. Although it is not the first computer hacking incident involving PLCs, this incident does highlight the importance of strong security measures. Good security practices should help prevent unauthorized use or hacks of control systems, and minimize the damage that can be caused. This is especially important when dealing with essential services and commodities, such as electricity, gasoline, natural gas, water, and transportation. The following links will provide a starting point for more research into security practices.
- The ICS-CERT (Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team) was established by the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to address the risk of cyber-attacks on industrial control systems. https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/Industrial-Control-Systems-Joint-Working-Group-ICSJWG
- This page has links to many useful documents and articles. https://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/Information-Products
- The ISA (International Society of Automation) publishes the ISA99 standard. This standard defines “procedures for implementing electronically secure manufacturing and control systems and security practices and assessing electronic security performance.” https://www.isa.org/isa99/
- The U.S. DOE (Department of Energy) has a cybersecurity division that helps maintain the security of power plants and the power grid. http://energy.gov/oe/services/cybersecurity
- This document discusses the steps necessary to secure a SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) network. http://energy.gov/oe/downloads/21-steps-improve-cyber-security-scada-networks
In order to help meet these various security needs, our IT group can assist you with security services. These services include physical security products, such as IP cameras, and cyber security services, such as network security review, firewall hardening, and network monitoring and alerting. Contact us if you have questions about securing your control systems network.