Find and Deeply Protect the Red Buttons

by | Feb 7, 2017 | Cybersecurity, Event

Jim Cahill

Chief Blogger, Editor

At the ARC Industry Forum, the keynote sessions started the day. Their focus:

Industrial companies are revisiting their business processes and technology approaches as competitors and partners start to employ ‘digitalized’ business processes and exploit the increasing convergence between operational technology (OT), engineering technology (ET), and information technology (IT) on the plant floor. Trusted technology vendors are moving from Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concepts to real IIoT products, solutions, and services. Companies are creating and implementing open source alternatives to traditional technology solutions. Several industry leaders will share with us how they are leveraging new technologies and processes to transform their business and manufacturing operations.

Marty Edwards, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the director of the ICS-CERT, a division of the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC). Marty opened asking, “What is digital?” He answers the question that today, digital means connected.

It used to be that each control loop was independent of one another and did not communicate with each other. More and more these devices connect with each other wirelessly. Control systems have become much more hardened with a focus on cybersecurity.

Marty shared a story of plants with the red mushroom shutdown button by the exit, being the master shutdown and not being digital. Over time, the button has been made digital connecting into the safety instrumented system. He noted how extreme care has to be taken and must be protected vigorously.

If you try to protect everything, you end up protecting nothing. Like safety, assess the risk levels and protect the most important things with countermeasures… find and deeply protect the red buttons.

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