December 2010

Is the Kindle a Good Gift for an Automation Engineer?

As the holidays approach I thought I should examine a key burning question – what makes a good gift for a controls engineer? Being an engineer myself, and a recent recipient of the latest Kindle 3G, I will examine the merits and drawbacks of the Kindle as a gift.

Merits of the Kindle for process automation engineers

Techy coolness factor

Stuxnet and DoS Attacks on SCADA News Lists means Increased Risk for Industrial Control Systems

Thanks to all the publicity around Stuxnet, there has also been growing interest regarding the reported Denial of Service (DoS) attacks against the industry mail list that I sponsor, SCADAPerspective. I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight on what actually happened back in July 2010 and to let you know why it signifies increased risk for all industrial control systems.

Password Reuse – Control Networks Double the Risk

Last week Jason Holcomb at Digital Bond wrote a great article called “Everybody Knows Your Passwords” on the issues of default passwords. In it he talked about how some control system vendors continue to bury hidden “default” passwords in their system. As Stuxnet illustrated, these passwords can be later accessed by malware or hackers, making them the perfect backdoor into a company’s operations.

Human Centered Design is Key to Industrial Control Systems Security and Safety

In reviewing material about Industrial Control Systems (ICS) there is one element that, in my opinion, is the most important factor to consider - especially in light of the recent hubbub about Stuxnet and ICS Security. That element is human centered design.

Every aspect of the control system life cycle, whether it is Concept, Design, Construction, Operation, Maintenance, Safety or Security, includes the human element. It is nothing new, but we all see time and time again where human factors, rather than technical factors play a major role in security and or safety issues.

Happy Holidays from Byres Security

Happy Holidays from Byres Security!

As we come to the end of another year, the team at Byres Security would like to wish our readers, web members and customers a joy-filled holiday season and a happy New Year.