Timely Help to Boost Industrial Cyber Security

As concerns mount over prospects for cyber terrorism or hacker attacks, showgoers at ISA Expo heard about some of the latest industrial technologies developed to ward off those threats.

The operators of critical infrastructure facilities who weren’t already concerned about cyber security may have received another wake-up call on Sept. 27, when the Associated Press released a video produced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The video, marked “Official Use Only,” shows a simulated hacker attack on an electrical turbine; the attack causes the giant turbine to shudder and spin wildly prior to shutting down in a haze of billowing smoke.  

The simulated cyber attack was reportedly part of a federal investigation of a known vulnerability in an industrial supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. So the timing was appropriate just five days later on Oct. 2, when the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society (ISA) announced that it is nearing an agreement to distribute and market the Control Systems Cyber Security Self Assessment Tool (CS2SAT) through its ISA Security Compliance Institute. Developed by the DHS National Cyber Security Division, CS2SAT is designed to help users of SCADA and industrial control systems to evaluate the security of their control systems.  

The ISA announcement of the pending distribution deal came on the first day of the ISA Expo, Oct. 2-4 in Houston. And for the cyber security-conscious among ISA Expo attendees, there was plenty of additional cyber security news coming out of the show.  

Defense in depth 

For example, MTL Instruments, a United Kingdom-based company, and Byres Security Inc., of Lantzville, British Columbia, Canada, announced that the Tofino Industrial Security Solution originated by Byres has successfully completed beta testing and is ready for sale. The Tofino, an industrial security appliance, will be available through MTL under terms of a manufacturing, development and distribution agreement announced last year.  

The Tofino is designed to be installed directly in front of industrial control devices or groups of control devices such as human-machine interfaces (HMIs), distributed control systems (DCSs), programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and remote terminal units (RTUs) as part of a “defense-in-depth” strategy. The Tofino then provides additional protection if a hacker or computer virus manages to get through the main corporate firewall.  

The first Tofino units will be shipped in November, said Eric Byres, chief technology officer at Byres Security. Two major DCS vendors are currently testing the Tofino, and are expected to approve the unit soon for use with their systems, Byres added.  

Perfect storm in a box 

Also at the ISA Expo, Mu Security, Sunnyvale, Calif., announced that the Tofino has achieved Foundation-level Mu Security Industrial Control (MUSIC) certification. The MUSIC certification is granted only after a system successfully passes an extensive series of tests designed to determine its robustness and resistance to cyber attacks. “Our product is like a perfect storm in a box,” said Thomas Maufer, Mu director of technical marketing. 

Mu Security is a two-year-old security analyzer company that jumped into the industrial cyber security certification business with the Aug. 13 announcement of MUSIC certification for the C300 Process Controller from Honeywell Process Solutions, Phoenix. On Sept. 25, Mu added the System 800xA AC 800M controller from Zurich-based ABB to its list of Foundation level MUSIC-certified devices. 

Instant test access 

The ABB AC 800M also recently achieved Achilles Level 1 certification from Wurldtech Labs, an independent division of Wurldtech Security Technologies, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. And at ISA Expo, Wurldtech further announced that the Stardom FCJ from Japan-based controls vendor Yokogawa has also achieved Achilles Level 1 certification. The Stardom FCJ is the fifth device from Yokogawa to receive Achilles certification, Wurldtech said. 

At its ISA Expo booth, Wurldtech was touting a new version of its Achilles testing platform. Called the Achilles Satellite, the unit can be used by both control systems vendors and end-users. It features an Internet link that provides users “instant access” to the full range of Wurldtech security tests, said Nate Kube, Ph.D., Wurldtech chief technology officer. The Satellite will also enable users to remotely share test results with Wurldtech cyber security experts, who can then—based on the results—provide guidance on additional tests that should be run, Kube added. The first Satellite units are scheduled to ship in November.

Byres Security Inc.

Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society

MTL Instruments

Mu Security

Wurldtech Security Technologies

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