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Video: IT Security Students Examine Industrial Networks


As industrial networks move into the conventional IT space, security engineers think we’re missing some obvious safeguards.


With growing adoption of Ethernet as the backbone of industrial systems, more industrial devices outfitted with Ethernet connectivity, and more networks accessible from the Internet, plant-level networking is getting harder to tell from conventional IT. In fact, many enterprise-side IT engineers have little if any trouble getting around the areas we industrial folks always considered our stuff.


If you’re not sure you buy that idea, take a look at the video above. It’s a talk with six IT students from DePaul University in Chicago who have just taken a course on industrial control networks and hardware. Four of the students completed the class last June, and two others finished in November. None of them had any industrial background, but had little trouble understanding what a PLC does and how it’s programmed.


We met some of these students last summer in an earlier video where you got a taste of what the class was about and heard what interested them about working with industrial networks. This new discussion is more specifically about what they were able to do, and even some recommendations on what industrial users can do to harden networks. It may be an eye-opener, and certainly something to think about if you thought the obscure nature of control systems was going to protect you.


Peter Welander, Content Manager, Control Engineering, pwelander(at)cfemedia.com


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