So what is PLC security?
Well there are actually two parts, PLC cyber security and PLC physical security. The cyber security deals with the control network and how it's linked to the Internet and other networks. The physical security is things like correcting default passwords, limiting thumb drive access, securing thumb drive access, and having only authorized personnel in the vicinity of your control systems.
Therefore, to implement both the PLC cyber security and PLC
physical security, a strategy or plan needs to be in place. This includes
procedures and training for staff and the review and continuous improvement of
the system. You may find it surprising that only 20% of all cyber security
instances are intentional, for example, an external hacker or terrorist and
maybe an unhappy employee. Most of the security events are unintentional and
caused by software or device problems, a malware infection that found its way
to your device, and PICNIC (Problem In Chair,
Not In Computer) or in other
words, human error.
If you worked with PLCs about a decade or so go, PLC cyber security really wasn't on your radar, there really was no reason for it to be. PLCs were not connected to business systems through any common or standard network. PLCs and other automation equipment were separated from other networks. However, it is becoming normal to connect into business systems typically through TCP/IP networking. Connecting PLCs to the business systems enabled data exchange and better business decisions and that is a major motivation. However, it was not apparent that improving productivity and information flow would cause problems of security.
Ever since the Stuxnet computer worm in 2010 that targeted Siemens industrial software, awareness has grown of how industrial control networks are vulnerable. Due to the publicity and success of Stuxnet worm, hackers are now aware of the weaknesses of industrial control systems and SCADA security.
A few things important to realize:
Now that the hackers have a new target, PLC security is very important. It is time to take action and develop an industrial cyber security plan, since the need for cyber security is very likely to increase going forward.
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