The AFCEA Cyber Committee is developing a white paper on the security and resilience of industrial control systems in an effort to highlight why this is a particularly tough problem.
Industrial control systems (ICS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other control systems have been used for decades in power plants and grids, oil and gas refineries, air traffic control, railroad management, pipeline pumping stations, pharmaceutical plants, chemical plants, automated food and beverage lines, industrial processes, automotive assembly lines and water treatment plants. These systems are critical components within the U.S. infrastructure. Increasingly, ICS and computer networks to conduct the business mission are integrated for the purpose of cost, ease of use and remote access to the ICS components. There is less isolation for ICS from the outside world than ever before, creating a critical need to secure the systems from remote, external threats. Wireless networking also places ICS at greater risk from those in close proximity to equipment.
News of these systems being compromised has been ongoing for the past 10 or more years, and progress is underway to address the vulnerability of these control systems. Standards have been developed and the deficiencies of these systems have been addressed by the private sector and the
One of the AFCEA Cyber Committee's primary findings is that the operational and risk differences between ICS and general-purpose computer systems create the need for increased sophistication in applying cybersecurity and operational risk mitigation strategies. Additionally, computer security professionals working with ICS need to understand the reliability impacts of information security technologies before deployment. Some of the operating systems and applications running on ICS may not operate correctly with commercial off-the-shelf cybersecurity solutions because of the specialized ICS environment architectures. The AFCEA Cyber Committee is discussing the security/resilience of industrial control systems with industry and government specialists and the white paper will be available on http://www.afcea.org/ committees/cyber.
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