First article of 3-part Cyber Observatory series on control system cyber security published

Nov. 10, 2020
I have prepared a three-part series for the Cyber Observatory with the first part describing the history of control system cyber security and differences between control systems and networking. Part 1 can be found at https://cyberstartupobservatory.com/the-need-to-change-the-paradigm-of-control-system-cyber-security-part-1-background/ . The second part will provide actual control system cyber incidents to demonstrate control system cyber security is a real issue. It will also address the lack of control system cyber incident information sharing, control system cyber forensics, and the need for cyber security training for the engineers. The third part will address the hole in control system cyber security – the lack of cyber security, authentication, and cyber logging in Purdue Reference Model Level 0,1 devices (e.g., process sensors, actuators, drives, etc.).

There have been many articles, webinars, surveys, and books on cyber security of Operational Technology (OT) networks and control systems. I put them into three bins. The first bin includes those presentations, papers, webinars, and surveys that apply to “keeping lights on and water flowing”. The second bin includes those presentations,  papers, webinars, and surveys that apply to Operational Technology (OT) networks but do not include “keeping lights on and water flowing”. This is generally where the IT/OT convergence discussions lie. The third bin are those presentations, papers, webinars, and surveys that are factually not correct or not applicable to control systems. Unfortunately, there are very few articles, discussions, books, webinars, or surveys that fit into the first bin. Most fit into the second bin. Consequently, I have prepared a three-part series for the Cyber Observatory with the first part describing the history of control system cyber security and differences between control systems and networking. Part 1 can be found at https://cyberstartupobservatory.com/the-need-to-change-the-paradigm-of-control-system-cyber-security-part-1-background/ . The second part will provide actual control system cyber incidents to demonstrate control system cyber security is a real issue. It will also address the lack of control system cyber incident information sharing, control system cyber forensics, and the need for cyber security training for the engineers. The third part will address the hole in control system cyber security – the lack of cyber security, authentication, and cyber logging in Purdue Reference Model Level 0,1 devices (e.g., process sensors, actuators, drives, etc.). Without the ability to validate the integrity and authenticity of the sensor input, OT cyber security, predictive maintenance, and process safety is based on untrusted input.

Joe Weiss