The system is REALLY broken – even the banks don’t get ICS cyber security

Several months ago I was approached by an executive at a large bank.  The concern was cyber security of their building controls and the lack of a bridge between the IT security people and the building controls people. The IT executive and I had several conversations. Yesterday, 9/10, I sent a note to the person about the upcoming October ICS Cyber Security Conference. I received the following e-mail from the executive this morning – 9/11/14. I find it incredible this is still happening and in an industry that is really interested in security – the financial industry. It is also incredible considering the Target hack came from a small HVAC distributor. Moreover, it demonstrates principal number 1 about the ICS cyber security process – senior management needs to buy in for the project to be successful.

“Thank you so much for you note.  I know that I certainly would find the conference interesting. Unfortunately (and much to my dismay), last week I was told to table the ICS talks here for the time being.

I have been meaning to reach out to you to thank you for your kindness and willingness to discuss the current struggles faced with ICS and cyber security.  Thanks to you, I was at least able to impress upon management that this is not something we can do without help from the experts, and the imperativeness of establishing that bridge before we even try again.

I am a HUGE proponent (fan) of what you are doing in this space, and I hope for one day, in the not too distant future, that I will be able to engage you to lead us through. I was extremely disappointed that I was asked to put this on hold, both from maybe the chance to make a difference in the infancy of this space (greater global good, not just this company), and being able to learn from one of the best in the field.

You have made a profound impression on me, thank you!”

Vice President, Information Security, Enterprise Threat Management

This is 9/11/14 and months after the Target Hack. If the banks still don’t get it, why are people surprised when the ICS community still doesn’t get it?

 Joe Weiss