Technology for Industrial Control Systems and SCADA are now available that allow for continuous monitoring of these critical systems. A baseline is created and any deviations can be alerted and acted upon.

Cybersecurity in the Factory

Edgard Capdevielle | Nozomi Networks

How are industries being infiltrated by Hackers?

There are a variety of new and old technologies in the manufacturing environment that were originally protected via isolation that now have connections in some way to other systems, networks, and sometimes the Internet, that previously did not. Hacking Industrial Robots are just one example. The challenge comes in when companies introduce remote connectivity without properly evaluating the security of doing so. Each device with an IP address is a tiny pinprick in the plant’s defenses and hackers are looking for insecure connections to wreak havoc.

 

What has fundamentally changed in the manufacturing environment, with SCADA and OT?

Only recently have these two systems been exposed to external attacks through increased connectivity that enables the operators to integrate and manage the system remotely. That is one of the areas that hackers can target to penetrate these secure systems. Researchers from Ben Gurion University have recently demonstrated a way to leverage a flat bed scanner to infiltrate SCADA Systems. However, recent technologies have introduced artificial intelligence and machine learning to help secure these systems. The solution requires technologies that document and visualize ICS systems and that can detect, remediate and contain threats.

 

How is Artificial intelligence and machine learning helping to provide visibility and control without impacting availability?

Introducing machine learning and artificial intelligence into the manufacturing environment could hold the key to faster and more efficient processes for securing unique industrial networks. Machine learning can be used to solve problems without direct programming. Algorithms can be created that use artificial intelligence to learn from normal process behavior automatically and detect abnormalities that are useful to those operators who strive for reliability and uptime of operations. From there, structures can be created to view and interpret data correctly to analyze high data volumes that cannot be evaluated any other way. Automation and artificial intelligence are two areas that could clear the way for IT teams to concentrate on threats instead of repetitive tasks.

 

What is on the horizon to help Manufacturers secure the security of their systems?

Technology for Industrial Control Systems and SCADA are now available that allow for continuous monitoring of these critical systems. A baseline is created and any deviations can be alerted and acted upon. These once sacrosanct systems are no longer untouchable and it is imperative to be aware of all the blind spots in the network to ensure that nothing is introduced to the manufacturing environment that could pose a serious risk to employees, automated processes or products. Just like cars cannot be operated without seatbelts and airbags, manufacturing lines, and any other critical infrastructure will need to have standard security to protect from hackers, nation states, human error, or normal wear and tear in a plant.

 

Can the hackers be stopped at the door or does each individual device and system need to be protected?

Many types of cyber intrusions can be stopped at the door, but not all. There are numerous pathways to Industrial Control Systems, which is a layered defense strategy, that includes continuous monitoring for anomalies and rapid notification of incidents to operators, is important. Learning points:

  • Remember that cyber threats that can impact reliability, which is what operators care about, includes more than hackers
  • Layering defenses, or “Defense in Depth”, means implementing a variety of security measures to protect critical systems, not just one. Our solution is an important part of this strategy. In the past, it could take companies months to more than a year to detect that an intrusion had been occurred on their system (there are stats. on this that we can track done if needed) which is one reason why the real-time monitoring that SCADAguardian does is revolutionary for the OT space

 

Can AI be used to actually protect networks from hackers in a proactive way?

Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool when it comes to rapid, real-time identification and alerting of possible breaches and incidents. Heterogeneous industrial systems and the thousands of processes they run can allow attacks to go unnoticed for months. When machine learning is used to model these systems, combined with behavioral analytics and continuous monitoring, anomaly detection can be automated for effective, proactive monitoring.

 

Please describe what you feel to be an ideal cybersecurity system for a modern manufacturing plant and how do we get there from here?

While there are no perfect cybersecurity systems because of the dynamic nature of the attacks and threats, following the NIST framework and best practices along with implementing technologies that document and visualize ICS systems and that can detect, remediate and contain threats is the best way to protect ICS systems. Implement standardization helps to facilitate peer-validated security architectures, protocols and guidelines. This is real security. This is a process we are collaborating on as IEC TC57 WG15 members.

 

 

 

 

About Edgard Capdevielle’s
Edgard Capdevielle is CEO of Nozomi Networks and posseses an extensive background in successfully managing and expanding markets for both start-ups and established technology companies. Previously, Edgard was Vice President of Product Management and Marketing for Imperva, where he led teams that made the company’s web and data security products leaders in their space. Prior to that, he was a key executive at storage companies Data Domain and EMC. Edgard has a MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University.


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