In an interview with Ludmila Morozova-Buss, Mr. Chuck Brooks – one of the world’s known experts, the industry guru, your future reference for the most competent and comprehensive quest and analysis on cybersecurity, explains what is an industrial cyber security control system (ICS) and why it is different than IT security.
Mr. Brooks explains: In basic terms, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Network or SCADA, are composed of computers and perform key functions in providing essential services and commodities for important industrial control systems (ICS). These are systems that are remote systems of control used to monitor and control industrial processes. SCADA systems that provide a user interface for operators to observe the status of a system, receive alarms, and adjust and manage the process under control. SCADA refers to control systems that span a large geographic area, such as a gas pipeline, power transmission system or water distribution systems. All of those industries have been targeted by cyber-attack (malware, denial of service) aimed at master stations and control centers.
Protecting industrial control systems is a component of the dynamic threat environment and response matrix that constitutes the whole of cyber security. IT security is also a broader part of cyber security. Because of the vital role of industrial control systems, enhanced security measures, including more isolated networks, multi-layered (software and hardware hardened) defense-in-depth and specialized protocols, are needed to protect these assets. Contingency planning and preparedness are especially important for industrial control systems because a breach or failure could be catastrophic. Resiliency is always a priority. Still, in an ecosystem of digital connectivity, there will be vulnerabilities.
Many Industries, especially those involved in manufacturing, would be wise to follow the multi-layered solution security and reliance models employed in industrial control systems. It is important to be vigilant, calculating, and prudent in addressing cyber security issues as the landscape is still evolving. For the information security community in both government and industry that means learning from intrusions and building more secure code, hardware and implementing protocols to best contain future threats, especially against critical infrastructure.