Security module addresses government SCADA concerns

Byres Security Inc. and MTL Instruments, a division of Cooper Crouse-Hinds, introduced the Tofino Modbus TCP Enforcer Loadable Security Module (LSM) at the ISA show this week in Houston, TX. The module performs detailed analysis and filtering of all Modbus TCP messages and is certified by Modbus-IDA.

11/01/2008


Byres Security Inc. and MTL Instruments, a division of Cooper Crouse-Hinds, introduced the Tofino Modbus TCP Enforcer Loadable Security Module (LSM) at the ISA show this week in Houston, TX. The module performs detailed analysis and filtering of all Modbus TCP messages and is certified by Modbus-IDA.

“Deep packet” or “content” inspection for Web email or traffic has been offered in IT firewalls for several years, but similar capabilities have not been available for the process control or SCADA world. Modbus traffic could either be allowed or blocked by a standard firewall, but fine-grained control was not possible, said Eric Byres, CTO at Byres Security Inc. “And since the smooth flow of Modbus TCP traffic is critical to the average industrial facility, engineers usually opted to let everything pass and take their chances with security,” he added.

This detailed level of analysis and filtering in SCADA systems has recently become a government-level concern. This year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned: “A vulnerability has been identified and verified within the firmware upgrade process used in control systems deployed in critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR)…development of a mitigation plan is required to protect the installed customer base and the CIKR of the nation. Firmware vulnerability mitigation steps [include] blocking network firmware upgrades with appropriate firewall rules.”

Two global energy companies and a major transportation company have thus far tested the Tofino ModbusTCP Enforcer LSM and are reportedly pleased with how it allows them to follow the government’s guidance and enhance both the security and stability of their systems. They have been able to restrict Modbus functions in numerous ways:

  • Blocking all firmware upgrades, while allowing normal HMI traffic;

  • Tailoring appropriate Modbus access permissions to PLCs for different stations, such as read-only for monitoring panels, read/write for HMIs, and full programming and diagnostics access for PLC engineering workstations;

  • Restricting Modbus access permissions to specific memory locations in a controller;

  • Providing enhanced security and protection for any Modbus TCP device, including filtering of invalid traffic that could cause denial of service or system failures; and

  • Enforcing read-only access to safety instrumented systems for enhanced isolation and safety.

www.byressecurity.com

www.mtl-inst.com

www.modbus.org





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.