Friday, February 27, 2009

Control System Connections

A blog earlier this week over on points out how hard it is for facilities to ensure that there control networks are not subject to off-site access. Joe Weiss reports on a Distributech webinar on the new Smart Grid technology to improve the reliability of the electrical grid. While the SCADA systems for the electrical grid are not the same as those for chemical manufacturing facilities, they do share the growing vulnerability of connections to systems outside of the facility gates. These outside connections allow for the potential attack on the control systems without physical penetration of the facility perimeter or insider complicity; obviously making them something to be avoided. Except that the latest technology discussed for addition to Smart Grid technology is the use of Blue tooth connections to elements system to allow for remote diagnostics. While this makes the control system tech’s job of system maintenance easier it also increases the ease of hacking the system to gain control. If this technology is being offered for electric control systems, the most closely regulated systems in the United States, it will not be long before it finds its way into SCADA systems at high-risk chemical facilities, increasing the risks there even more.

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