NIST’s process control forum helps networks prevent cyber attacks

Gaithersburg, MD—A 500-member forum of industry, government, and academic technical experts, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has released a new draft set of cyber security requirements for industrial control systems.

By Control Engineering Staff October 19, 2004

Gaithersburg, MD— A 500-member forum of industry, government, and academic technical experts, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), has released a new draft set of cyber security requirements for industrial control systems. The requirements in this 149-page document, “ System Protection Profile for Industrial Control Systems (SPP-ICS) ,” were developed by the Process Control Security Requirements Forum (PCSRF), and are intended for use in procurement documents for new industrial control systems or components. Implementation the requirements can help protect the nation’s critical industrial infrastructures from cyber attacks.

NIST adds that the new requirements also should protect against other criminal efforts to remotely access and control production and distribution processes. The proposed requirements should be of special interest to computer security and process control personnel in the electric power, oil, gas, water, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals and mining, pulp and paper, and durable goods manufacturing industries.

Presently, network connectivity istocols. Today, however, process control systems often incorporate off-the-shelf products, use open protocols, and connect to business networks. NIST adds any of these could allow security to be compromised.

The forum’s draft report addresses security requirements needed throughout an industrial control system’s lifecycle, including design, implementation, configuration, maintenance, and decommissioning. The report deals with industrial control systems such as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, distributed control systems (DCS), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Requirements for components of the control system, such as industrial controller authentication and sensor authentication, also are outlined.

PCSRF’s SPP-ICS report is available for download and review free of charge at https://www.isd.mel.nist.gov/projects/processcontrol/SPP-ICSv1.0.doc .

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor
jmontague@reedbusiness.com