Honeywell opens cybersecurity lab

April 6, 2015
The new Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security Lab in Macon, Georgia can simulate your control and IT infrastructure to quantify risk and demonstrate ways to mitigate it.
About the Author
Paul Studebaker is chief editor of Control. He earned a master's degree in metallurgical engineering and gathered 12 years experience in manufacturing before becoming an award-winning writer and editor for publications including Control and Plant Services.Honeywell Process Solutions has opened a new Industrial Cyber Security Lab to advance its development and testing of new technologies and software to defend industrial facilities and operations such as refineries and manufacturing plants from cyber attacks.

The new Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security Lab in Duluth, Georgia, includes a model of a complete process control network that Honeywell cybersecurity experts will leverage for proprietary research, hands-on training, and to develop, test and certify industrial cybersecurity solutions. This lab will help accelerate development time of new cyber protection technologies and speed availability to customers.

The laboratory is equipped to support simulations of industrial control applications and their associated IT infrastructure so cyber threats and vulnerabilities can be safely explored and mitigation technologies demonstrated without exposing a running plant. "Solutions development and testing leverages commercial cybersecurity technologies but need development before they can be applied to control systems," said Mike Spear, global operations manager, industrial cybersecurity, Honeywell Lifecycle Solutions & Services. "You can't simulate attacks on a running plant without risking shutdowns. Here, we can place a customer's system in a controlled environment and test its vulnerabilities."

Through demonstrations, plant and company managers and IT professionals can see how real-time security works on the control system in an industrial environment. Cyber threats are constantly evolving, and so must the solutions to respond. "In the lab, we can perform tests where in the industrial environment, real harm could result," said Eric Knapp, director of technology and solutions, industrial cybersecurity, Honeywell Lifecycle Solutions & Services.

The lab is prepared to demonstrate the full range of Honeywell hardware and software cybersecurity technologies on simulated systems extending from Level 2 (control) to level 4 (business systems), including an increasing selection of non-Honeywell hardware and software. Visitors can see the vulnerabilities of their systems and choose solutions based on their "appetite for risk," said Spear. "Customers must understand where they are—their current status—to understand the gap between their status and their appetite."

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), reported cyber incidents on industrial targets in 2014 continue to increase and are up more than 25% since 2011. ICS-CERT's latest report also said that in 40% of reported incidents, experts did not know how hackers intruded the system because of a lack of detection and monitoring capabilities. Similar concerns were reflected in a global survey on cybersecurity conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in September 2014 on behalf of Honeywell. In that survey, more than 75% of respondents from 10 countries said they were fearful that cyber criminals could disrupt major sectors of the economy, and identified the oil and gas, chemicals and power industries as particularly vulnerable.

For more than a decade, Honeywell has developed and provided proprietary cyber protection software and technology for its leading process automation solutions, including Experion process controls, which are used at hundreds of industrial sites such as refineries, chemical plants, gas processing units, power plants, mines and mills around the world. During that time, the Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security group has delivered more than 1,000 industrial cybersecurity projects globally.

"We have a successful history of providing cyber defense solutions for our industrial customers and this new cyber lab expands our capabilities," said Jeff Zindel, global business leader for Cyber Security, HPS. "We will be able to validate new solutions faster in a variety of scenarios and increase our customers' defenses against the growing threat of cyber attacks."

In addition to its new lab, Honeywell's Industrial Cyber Security group has also added a number of cybersecurity experts to increase the bench strength of its development and business teams.

"Many of our customers have come to us looking for cybersecurity solutions to defend their industrial facilities, operations and people from damage, disruption and misuse," said Zindel. "They understand the very real threat that is out there, and they want to be more proactive in guarding against it. Honeywell is building on its leading industrial cybersecurity expertise and experience with this new research and development lab as well as adding highly-regarded cybersecurity experts around the globe to support our customers' growing needs."

For more information about Honeywell's industrial cybersecurity solutions, please visit