He is a technology journalist with a decade of experience writing about information security, hackers, and privacy. These hackers could also be part of a government plan as a type of cyber warfare.2. Siemens recently published a security advisory for a local privilege escalation vulnerability that affects at least 18 of its SCADA software systems and devices. Poor Training: Most employees understand the vital nature of the systems and how to operate and monitor controls. However, the increasing connection of SCADA systems to the Internet, as well as corporate networks, introduces severe security issues. As part of the the growing awareness of the security issues in SCADA systems, researchers have analyzed series of attacks and vulnerabilities on the SCADA systems. "Having this data from the endpoints to the master station encrypted is a big deal for us to maximize security. During that time specific security themes kept resurfacing. And this all ties back into our first point of the cultural, political and technical divide. This zone is made up of similarly purpose-built equipment called SCADA, for supervisory control and data acquisition systems. These preventative measures can be employed by any industrial control network. SCADA security is a term to describe measures taken to protect SCADA networks as well as to discuss vulnerabilities (i.e. To understand why they are fragile it’s important to first understand a bit of the ICS architecture. 8 video chat apps compared: Which is best for security? They are digital assets that control physics like flow, temperature and pressure. They are engineered with multiple conduits for communication by default, or as outlined earlier, they have these capabilities bolted on after the fact. As with any complex system, accidents happen and errors occur. Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) have equiped our industries for decades, without really worrying about their vulnerability. Remember cowboy movies where the stagecoach carrying bags of money, generally marked with dollar signs, was robbed? It takes a carefully thought-out combination of security policies and effective controls to adequately secure today’s complex industrial control systems. |. SCADA systems manage those ICS assets and monitor for issues such as the heat set point in a boiler being exceeded because of a malfunctioning coil. Each point of the network has its own form of security threats. In the past, a lot of these control systems operated in isolated environments with proprietary technol-ogies. They don’t exist in a bubble anymore. It is this belief that there is a magical moat protecting the ICS operations that can lead to lax security controls and limited monitoring. Understanding common weaknesses, creating and implementing an action plan to bring security to an acceptable level, and employing a standard operating procedure for security protocols will minimize the risk posed by an increasingly hostile Internet. Subscribe to access expert insight on business technology - in an ad-free environment. AND SCADA/ICS CYBERSECURITY VULNERABILITIES AND THREATS Operational Technology (OT) Systems Lack Basic Security Controls. Many of these older systems operate perfectly fine from a non-security perspective. There are three primary issues related to SCADA security that have emerged in recent years: unsecured data transmissions, open public network connections and technology standardization. While they may not be specifically targeting these networks, malware still poses a threat to the operation of key infrastructure.3. Sponsored item title goes here as designed, What the Internet of Things means for security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, 7 overlooked cybersecurity costs that could bust your budget. Anyone who has access to these systems, especially apps, should also be documented. Cyber security issues in SCADA systems are further exacerbated by the legacy problem. I've heard this  same logic applied to multiple users sharing one group account with no individual accountability. Security is something that needs constant attention. If these updates are not administered quickly and properly, vulnerabilities occur. However, hackers are targeting systems with some of the same common weaknesses. Learn about the Use Cases and Benefits of Security Analytics Tools, What is Role-Based Access Control (RBAC)? Our unique approach to DLP allows for quick deployment and on-demand scalability, while providing full data visibility and no-compromise protection. Schneider Electric is a multinational corporation that specializes in energy management automation and SCADA networks. Chris has attended many infosec conferences and has interviewed hackers and security researchers. Yet, many applications being developed lack the level of security to be expected for such vital systems.3. Each point of the network has its own form of security threats. The use of SCADA has been considered also for management and operations of project-driven-process in constr… They weren’t designed to communicate with other systems, be monitored and measured across IT networks, etc. App Development Loopholes: Apps have become an increasing part of industrial control systems. Security for SCADA is a major area of focus because many nations and international corporations depend on SCADA to protect vital infrastructure. Newer networks are, at least partially, controlled by applications. Some people may disagree with this, but ICS systems are highly connected. Learn about what SCADA security is, examples of threats and vulnerabilities, and more in Data Protection 101, our series on the fundamentals of information security. However, there are unique challenges faced by SCADA, including availability requirements, performance requirements and low bandwidth associated with SCADA systems. The nature of SCADA systems requires them to be operational 24 hours 7 … Along with the use of the systems themselves, users also need to … Collectively these zones are highly complex, often distributed and well connected. Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks are widely used in modern industrial organizations to monitor and analyze real-time data, control both local and remote industrial processes, interact with devices, and log data and events for auditing and other purposes. Network segmentation should be employed to separate other crucial business systems. common SCADA security problems). SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) are systems that monitor and control networks for core and critical infrastructure such as power plants, industrial plants, etc. I do get the sense that there is greater communication between people holding a wrench and people wearing pocket protectors than there was a decade ago, or even just pre-Stuxnet, (there I said it – what would a blog on SCADA security be without at least one mention of Stuxnet) but it still seems to be lacking especially when discussing overall security strategies for attacks that might originate in one zone and migrate to other zones thus impacting disparate technical and cultural domains. This kind of extortion is the biggest untold story in the cyber crime industry.” In emerging markets like Mexico and India extortion is pervasive according to studies by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. At a high level, most of these organizations have three operational zones. “You know. So what does this have to do with ICS? In many cases, a threat is not detected until hackers have access to certain systems and have begun to exploit them.4. SCADA system security issues [14][15] [16] [17][18][19] have been considered as the most prominent and important counter measures of communication [11][12][13]. They simply don’t stand up to cyber attacks perpetrated through access vectors that didn’t even exist when they were designed. Once again caused security experts to question the security of SCADA systems. “This was barely a hack. Cultural, Political and Technical Divides. Chris Brook is the editor of Data Insider. by Chris Brook on Wednesday December 5, 2018. One way is to … In the case of power generation, they use the monitoring derived from improved connectivity to more accurately trade excess power in real-time. Equipment that’s several decades old is now communicating with equipment that's just been taken out of bubble wrap. Prior to joining Digital Guardian he helped launch Threatpost, an independent news site which is a leading source of information about IT and business security for hundreds of thousands of professionals worldwide. Specific types of threats to SCADA networks fall into four categories: 1. There is a technology gap. SCADA Security is broad term used to describe the protection of SCADA networks. According to Allan Paller, Director of the SANS Institute, “Hundreds of millions of dollars have been extorted, and maybe more. Ineffective or outdated training. The 4 pillars of Windows network security, Avoiding the snags and snares in data breach reporting: What CISOs need to know, Why CISOs must be students of the business, The 10 most powerful cybersecurity companies. SCADA networks are made up of hardware, firmware, and software. Application whitelisting, firewalls, and unidirectional gateways are just a few of the security measures (.PDF) used in combination to build a defensive security posture for SCADA networks. Default passwords are commonplace – think SNMP with a public sting of “public” and a private string of “private” with the difference being that knowing the default passwords on an ICS might allow you to burnout a multimillion-dollar turbine. Yes availability is critical, but with these highly complex and connected systems, poor security can have an equally devastating impact on operational uptime. Either intentionally (due to internal work issues) or, more commonly, operator error. In one of the most important sectors of cyber security is what most people NOT in security rarely hear about. Many SCADA networks are still without necessary monitoring and detection systems, making them incredibly vulnerable to attacks and malware. Over the past couple months I’ve been spending a lot of time with critical infrastructure sector organizations across US and internationally. Contributor, These networks are made up of computer hardware and applications and are utilized to control and monitor vital infrastructure in nations where they are employed. For example, they were designed to open and close a dam and that’s it. These are generally very simple devices that may only do a small number of tasks, such as opening or closing a valve. Asset, vulnerability, and risk assessments should be conducted on an ongoing basis (.PDF) to adapt security measures to the ever-changing threat landscape and promptly address vulnerabilities. Natural gas pipelines, power plants, water treatment facilities, and even military bases are often dependent on SCADA technology. Because of this myth, ICS vendors may not invest in building solutions that are more secure from cyber attacks. Security checks, report monitoring, and standard protocols will have to be instituted and employed by all who have access to the SCADA network. Availability does trump everything else across critical infrastructure and it should. Because SCADA networks are vital to the industrial organizations that use them – and because they are comprised of hardware and software that may be subject to vulnerabilities – SCADA security is a growing need in the industrial sector. Rising cases of SCADA network attacks and attacks have caused increased discussion of the topic. Some preventative controls are in place between the zones but if they are bypassed there exist few solutions and processes to effectively monitor and respond to these attacks and remediate the issues collaboratively. Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc. Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc. Why would anybody ping them? Terrorists: Hackers may want access for malicious intent, but are typically motivated by sordid gain. Every piece of hardware, software, firmware, and application needs to be part of a map of the overall SCADA network. Often these bolted on upgrades are developed in a vacuum and simply sending them a ping may knock them over. Newer networks are, at least partially, controlled by applications. At the end of they day, this stuff is designed to keep working – period. Another is to seek out potential threats to the network. The divides that once separated the folks working on the ICS assets from those working on the IT assets still exists. Although, many who operate SCADA systems are undertrained in preventing, mon… Every now and again I think that we’ve moved passed this only to be proven wrong in many instances. Everyone from large companies to local and federal governments are all vulnerable to these threats to SCADA security. Read how a customer deployed a data protection program to 40,000 users in less than 120 days. The SCADA systems have been target of attacks particularly in the last two decades with the advancements in technology. I’m interested in hearing what other SCADA security issues you may have encountered. This zone consists of the actual ICS assets. In addition to business operations, the IT zone is more commonly connected to the other zones for measurement and monitoring. These attacks can range from cyber criminals threatening to turn the lights off if their extortionist demands are not paid to a nation-state trying to knockout an adversary by taking down the electric grid, communication and emergency services before launching a kinetic strike. Every now and again I think that we’ve moved passed this … "We run our SCADA system over a cellular VPN connection," says Williams. This older equipment will have capabilities bolted on -- like TCP/IP stacks. Some of those weaknesses include: 1. There are many points of vulnerability and multiple effective measures to protect each. The Handbook of SCADA/Control Systems Security is a fundamental outline of security concepts, methodologies, and relevant information pertaining to the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems and technology that quietly operate in the background of critical utility and industrial facilities worldwide. CSO provides news, analysis and research on security and risk management, How to use Windows Defender Attack Surface Reduction rules, 10 biggest cybersecurity M&A deals in 2020, EU's DORA regulation explained: New risk management requirements for financial firms, 7 dumb ways to be a ransomware victim, and how to avoid them, REvil ransomware explained: A widespread extortion operation, 5 'more' reasons SCADA security is fragile. There aren’t a lot of stagecoaches in operation today; instead money is moved around digitally or with an armored truck. Hackers: Intentional, malicious individuals or groups that are intent on gaining access to key components in SCADA networks. There is an erroneous belief that SCADA networks are safe enough because they are secured physically. These SCADA systems are what were responsible for controlling the above-mentioned facilities, and in each case these were either compromised or failed. SCADA systems are built on popular operating systems (OSs), such as Windows, and use TCP/IPs, which are inherently insecure. SCADA security is the practice of protecting supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks, a common system of controls used in industrial operations. Industrial control systems, for example, have become widely used in manufacturing, at seaports, in water treatment plans, in oil pipelines, in energy companies, and in building environmental control systems. Insider Error: Workers are a common cause of SCADA network issues. However, there are a few components of SCADA security that are common to any network. Even the ability to enforce encrypted communication may be defeated by an asset having an older CPU that lacks the power to support encryption, thus mandating that communication occur over clear text. Hacker Says Texas Town Used Three Character Password To Secure Internet Facing SCADA System. The major issue is that most of the SCADA systems were set up years before advances of computers and communication networks so that SCADA systems did not evolve as fast as those in the computer systems and communication networks. Overview of SCADA systems. Teach employees not to click unsafe web pages and not to open any unusual emails. Brian Contos, CISO & VP Security Strategy with Verodin, has helped build some of the most successful and disruptive cyber security companies in the world. Examples, Benefits, and More, Understanding the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and FINRA Rules. Does anybody still think there is an air gap between the three zones and by extension public networks like the Internet? However, hackers are targeting systems with some of the same common weaknesses. And industry may not ask for more secure solutions because they feel the risk is low. According to a recently reported story on DarkReading.com, Schneider was hacked, and the digital assailants gained control of the company’s emergency shutdown system and used it to target one of Schneider’s customers. But security procedural issues are a central component of internal threat prevention and include functions like password management and administration. There are a number of common security issues with SCADA: A lack of concern about security and authentication in the design, deployment, and operation of existing Control System networks