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An Approach To ICS Cyber Security

Posted by NowlesNorman in News on July 23rd, 2018

With technological advancements, industrial control systems (ICS) are up against a large number of digital threats. From those threats, there are two that are particularly bad.

First, there is the damage and disruption that can be caused to internal systems via malware amongst other techniques.

But more alarmingly some of those techniques can allow the user to leverage passive intelligence. What this means is that a person can essentially eavesdrop on pages that are unencrypted. By stealing that information they can break into organizations, and fabricate false alarms that affect operations severally.

It’s important at this rate to have an ICS cyber security strategy and thankfully there is a simple one. Belden created a three-step approach to ICS cyber security that reduces complexity, secure the network and prioritize any risks.

Step 1 In ICS security - Secure The Network

If you are looking for ICS security, you will need to make sure you have a strong network design with secure boundaries. Once that step is done, you can then begin by segmenting the networks. This can be done through the implementation of the ISA IEC 62443 standard. What this standard dictate is to secure wireless applications, as well as deploy any secure remote access solutions. These will help in troubleshooting quickly and solve problems quickly.

Furthermore, it is prudent to monitor the networks frequently, even after finishing these steps. After all, there is no such thing as perfect security and someone is bound to break through eventually.

Step 2 - Secure Endpoints

A lot of people think that an organization’s endpoints are properly protected thanks to firewalls, software, special protocols, or air gaps, but that’s not the case. All of those can be bypassed simply by plugging a USB stick into the laptop. Whether it’s an employee, contractor, or a supply chain personnel who is conducting maintenance, those safeguards are bypassed.

For this reason, it’s wise to have an inventory of hardware and software that’s used at these endpoints. Furthermore, you want to monitor the OT assets involved.

Step 3 - Secure Controllers

The last step is to secure the controllers. There are physical systems that are in an industrial environment. Actuators, valves, sensors, devices that interact physically. Over the years bad actors can gain access to these devices and caused malfunctions. The thing is though they can’t touch those unless they gain access to control levels.

What this means is targeting industrial controllers that manage particular systems. To protect yourself from that you can enhance the detection capabilities as well as visibility. Some other things to consider is monitor suspicious access as well as the change in control.

Protect ICS/SCADA Systems

Security is becoming more and more prominent in each industry and it’s up to the company to protect their ICS/SCADA systems properly. Take these steps into consideration and you will be able to have more security at all points where a breach could occur.

There is no other alternative, what needs to be done is a multi-step process to secure the network, endpoints, and the controllers involved. Staying vigilant in those areas will keep you protected.


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