Non-Profit Targets Cyber-Security in Plants

Non-Profit Targets Cyber-Security in Plants
Non-Profit Targets Cyber-Security in Plants

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By Stephanie Neil
MA Editorial Staff
September 12, 2009

The move from proprietary, non-networked control systems in the plant to 
off-the-shelf, open applications that share information across 
industrial and business networks is a double-edged sword for 
manufacturers. On one side, people are more productive; on the other 
side, SCADA and process control systems are falling victim to hackers 
and network viruses.

Getting a handle on how to manage cyber-threats, however, has always 
been a bit tricky. Reporting an industrial incident to organizations 
such as the government-backed CERT program, which tracks Internet and 
network security attacks, accidents, and failures, could expose a 
company=E2=80=99s network vulnerability or create a legal liability. As a 
result, many manufacturers keep a lid on their own security issues, 
which limits knowledge sharing that could help the industrial community 
as a whole.

Enter the Security Incidents Organization, a newly formed non-profit 
group that provides public access to its Repository of Industrial 
Security Incidents (RISI). Established in July, the group maintains an 
industry-wide repository for collecting, investigating, analyzing, and 
sharing critical information regarding cyber-security incidents that 
directly affect SCADA and process control systems.

The RISI database dates back to 2001, when it was housed at the British 
Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) as part of a research project 
that was shut down in 2006. At that time, BCIT faculty member Eric Byres 
purchased the database and continued to collect data on incidents. His 
company, Byres Research, was acquired by safety and security services 
firm exida earlier this year.


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