Legacy technology: Will cyber security concerns shut down that old DCS?

04/04/2007


Cyber security issues are becoming more critical, almost by the day. DCS vendors are working diligently on increasing the security provisions of current and new networking and control products, but what about old systems that are still operating and not slated for replacement? Can these be adequately defended in an increasingly threatening world? The answer is a heavily qualified yes.

Here are some of the possibilities:

  • Your original vendor may provide some security strategies. This is highly dependent on what you have and how old it is, but it never hurts to ask.

  • You can create perimeter defenses through firewalls or DMZs placed where the DCS connects to outside networks. This hardens your exterior.

  • To give yourself defense-in-depth, there are small device level firewalls and other devices that can be distributed at strategic points throughout the system. These can be effective and invisible when done correctly. When done poorly, they can add intolerable latency issues to a system.

  • If these other approaches aren't practical, your only choice is to isolate the system so it effectively cannot be reached at all from the outside.

At the recent PCSF event in Atlanta, Gary Finco, senior SCADA advisor from Idaho National Labs , said it all comes down to pocketbook issues. Adding "bolt-on" security to an operating DCS, even if the process is difficult, is probably much less expensive than scrapping it and bringing in something more up-to-date. A new system will be costly, especially when you consider the installation, commissioning, and training issues involved with a new DCS.

Gary and a group of cyber security experts from INL recorded a podcast about their work and resources they've made available to end users. Click here to listen .

—Edited by Peter Welander , process industries editor,
Control Engineering Advanced Process Control eNewsletter
(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...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
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.
Big Data and IIoT value; Monitoring Big Data; Robotics safety standards and programming; Learning about PID
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
Selecting the best controller from several viewpoints; System integrator advice for the IIoT; TSN and real-time Ethernet; Questions to ask when selecting a VFD; Action items for an aging PLC/DCS
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

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

Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
click me