Why is there so much confusion?

Over the past two weeks as I have been preparing for the August Conference, I had conversations with a number of electric and water industry personnel.  The discussions spanned the gamut from complete denial to – yes we did have problems but did not consider them cyber. The denial came from several electric utility (nuclear and non-nuclear) and a water industry individual. They were adamant they were not connected and haven’t had problems. As an aside, I have yet to see a system without some form of remote electronic connection. The other end of the spectrum was a discussion with nuclear plant personnel from two different utilities. After discussing the recent Hatch Nuclear Plant cyber incident, the response from both was our nuclear plant scrammed (automatically shut down) when we connected a laptop to some critical equipment. They didn’t think of it as a cyber problem at the time. Unfortunately with the lack of control system cyber security forensics, we will never know. Joe Weiss
Show Comments
Hide Comments

Join the discussion

We welcome your thoughtful comments.
All comments will display your user name.

Want to participate in the discussion?

Register for free

Log in for complete access.


  • <p>Well, the media certainly does a good job in creating confusion on the subject. What they are interested in is attacks, with a potential for some terrorist background at best. From the three published incidents in nuclear power plants, not one can be attributed to an intentional attack. But that's not what the public wants to hear, at least this seams to be the reasoning of many reporters.</p> <p>Recently, a reporter from a well respected industry publication participated in our three day seminar on industrial security to write an article about the subject. The article correctly and repeatedly pointed out that non-intentional threats account for the majority of real world security incidents. So far, so good. However, the fat headline of the article read: "Growing network connectivity opens way for IT attacks", thereby completely missing the message of the article content. Now what will stick in the memory of process engineer John Doe?</p> <p>Sometimes when giving a presentation, I ask the audience: Any of you who has experienced a cyber security incident, please raise their hand. One, two hands at most rise. After having talked about threat categories, I ask: Any of you who has experienced an incident due to accidental misadressing or misconfiguration, please raise their hand. Approximately 30-40 percent hands pop up. And then, 20-25% for malware inside the process network, and over 50% for incidents due to technical malfunction (think of Browns Ferry or Hatch, for example).</p> <p>It looks like we still have to go a long way to make clear what we are really talking about, and that the mass media is of little help here.</p>


RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments