Are the Toyota problems control system cyber incidents?

Feb. 25, 2010

A control system cyber incident is communications between systems that affect confidentiality, integrity, or availability. By that definition, the DC Metro Train crash with trackside sensors unable to communicate to RTUs and from there to SCADA obviously affected availability of the process. Consequently, it was a control system cyber incident. 

A control system cyber incident is communications between systems that affect confidentiality, integrity, or availability. By that definition, the DC Metro Train crash with trackside sensors unable to communicate to RTUs and from there to SCADA obviously affected availability of the process. Consequently, it was a control system cyber incident. 

A modern car utilizes many CPUs.  Additionally, the engine in a car is a power plant with sensors, drives, controllers, with a central management monitoring and control system akin to a SCADA, DCS, or PLC. Just as the Boeing-777 or 787 are fly-by-wire systems, modern cars such as Toyotas are drive-by-wire systems. If there truly are software problems affecting the braking and/or acceleration, those are control system cyber incidents.

As an aside, several years ago I gave a presentation at a DHS-NSF Beyond SCADA Conference in Pittsburgh. I went through a number of the issues with IT and control systems. Ironically, the two end-users that acknowledged they had similar issues – Ford and Toyota.

You might be interested in reading Walt’s Sound-off column on the same issue.

Joe Weiss