Embedded: Green Hills CEO warns about infrastructure security dangers

Santa Barbara, CA—U.S. software infrastructure is vulnerable, and, in his opening comments at the fifth annual Green Hills Software Embedded Software Summit, the company’s founder, president and CEO, Dan O’Dowd treated attendees to a laundry list of those vulnerabilities.

12/12/2007


Santa Barbara, CA —U.S. software infrastructure is vulnerable, and, in his opening comments at the fifth annual

Green Hills Software

Embedded Software Summit, the company’s founder, president and CEO, Dan O’Dowd treated attendees to a laundry list of those vulnerabilities. Using illustrative clips from a recent major motion picture, backed up by news accounts of actual attacks on automated systems and other computerized infrastructure, O’Dowd explained how hackers are exploiting several major vulnerabilities to take over, crash, or otherwise subvert these systems.

Michel Mayer, chairman and CEO of

Freescale Semiconductor

, and David Grawrock, principal engineer and lead security architect at

Intel Corp

. echoed O’Dowd’s concerns, and cited security as the biggest challenge facing embedded systems developers today. Rob Dobry, senior technical director for trusted computing with the

National Security Agency

’s (NSA’s) Commercial Solutions Center pointed out that the EAL-4 security level, which is what nearly all popular commercial operating systems can achieve, is effectively no security at all. “EAL-4 certification means the software is safe against‘inadvertent’ attacks,” he pointed out, “It is certifiably hackable!” To repel a determined attack by a determined, well funded individual or organization requires EAL-6+ certification, he said. Only one operating system is being certified to that level: GHS’ Integrity OS used on the

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) F-35 Joint Strike Fighter [see photo of the plane].

All agreed that the only systems that could be considered hacker-proof were Department of Defense weapons systems. At an afternoon panel session featuring security system experts from industry and government, O’Dowd pointed out that software testing for both function and security was not up to the level hardware engineers consider routine. “Only one industry routinely tests software thoroughly,” he said. “That is the aerospace industry where if software fails someone dies!”

When asked what percentage of mission-critical software development cost goes into testing, Jess Irwin, principal engineer for Northrop-Grumman responded: “Ninety percent.” This compares with typical testing costs for the electronics industry as a whole of 50%-80%.

Control Engineering offers feature articles related to software security .

For more, also search on security atop www.controleng.com.

C.G. Masi , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk
( Register here and scroll down to select your choice of eNewsletters free .)





No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.