Before you connect your machinery to the internet, please make sure you do a full IT risk assessment, considering not only the benefits, but the potential troubles you may encounter, and then think if having “constantly connected” machinery is REALLY necessary.

IT Security and Machine Safety

Kim Dahl | Troax

 

Should we be worried about this?

If your machinery is connected to the internet - DEFINITELY! Even if your machinery is connected to a local Wi-Fi LAN network it can be hacked.

Let’s think about it. Why would criminals attack your company? In today’s digital market the majority of payments between companies are made digitally. Physically robbing banks, stores, or businesses isn’t worth the effort. Even robbing people is most often useless – in today’s “cashless” society nobody carries money! - as nearly everything is done digitally via credit or debit cards, or using other “portable” digital methods such as PayPal and contactless “mobile phone” technology.

Cybercrime has now surpassed physical crime in its popularity, as there are far more possibilities attack anonymously; you can quickly steal data and blackmail consumers, companies, public service offices and governments. Unfortunately, this type of crime will continue as long as the opportunity exists. 

Viruses and cyber attacks

One of the most popular ways to attack us and obtain data is to infect our PC and/or network with a specially encoded virus and then issue a “ransom demand” to release it. This type of cybercrime is virtually impossible to track, and it is nearly impossible to catch the cyber-criminals.  Even more frightening, the criminals are constantly evolving and getting smarter and trickier.

Now imagine this: a cyber-attacker invades your computer system, takes over your production line, and then either demands a ransom to release it, - or even worse! - remotely controls it to attack or injure workers. Scary, isn’t it? Sadly, this is the new world that we live in and an issue with which we must familiarise ourselves.

 

Avoid the "worst-case" scenario

I was at a conference a couple of months ago, where there was a presentation about how companies dealt with IT security. We were shown examples of companies where direct access to their production could be accessed via the web page – no password security, no access code requests – the system was completely vulnerable. It was even possible to change the parameters for the production without an access code! Anyone and everyone who wanted to, could interrupt, change or even completely stop the production process.

Talk about your “worst-case” scenario!! What if a criminal started to change the safety parameter for the safety PLC? Unsuspecting people could be harmed or even killed.

While this scenario is not real yet, it could be. When everything we do is connected to the internet without any IT security, we must begin to realise it’s foreseeable that machine safety will be defeated.

 

Have you done a full IT Risk Assessment?

Before you connect your machinery to the internet, please make sure you do a full IT risk assessment, considering not only the benefits, but the potential troubles you may encounter, and then think if having “constantly connected” machinery is REALLY necessary.

"Think your server and your systems can’t be hacked? Think again."

If they can hack the Government, MI6, the CIA, and even Tech giants like Apple and Microsoft they can definitely hack YOU.

Troax, Inc.

Troax ensures protection from hazardous areas and secures valuable property, with wire mesh machine protection, warehouse partitioning and storage solutions. Safety, versatility and accessibility are a result of many years of development.

 

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow

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