Matt Newton

Recent Posts

Security Risks in Industrial Assets: Analyze before You Buy

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 19, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Attention industrial engineers: If you're not thinking about how secure that new wiz-bang-flashy PLC or PAC is before you purchase it, you're setting yourself up for a world of pain down the road.

Industrial control systems are used across a wide range of industries, from manufacturing and fabrication, to electricity generation and transmission, to oil refining and water treatment—all industries where a network security compromise could mean huge losses of capital for the business.

Recently we’re seeing many of these traditionally proprietary control systems—distributed control systems, PLCs, and SCADA applications—adding new, more open technologies like Ethernet and TCP/IP. And with organizations' increasing interest in the business advantages of obtaining system data, industrial control systems are now being connected to information technology (IT) networks.

That's scary.

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Topics: Internet of Things, Tips, IoT, Networking, Security, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

Machine Learning: A Brief Overview

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 17, 2017 8:00:00 AM

If you’ve been listening to all the hype around the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Internet of Things, Industrie 4.0, or my favorite, the Industrial Internet of Things (pretty sure they’re all roughly the same thing), you’ve no doubt heard the term machine learning thrown around.

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Topics: Internet of Things, IoT, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

5 Fundamental Security Features your Industrial Assets Must Have

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 13, 2017 8:00:00 AM

In a previous blog post I wrote about the Internet of Things getting hacked. As the IIoT ramps up and we continue to connect more devices to networks, we increase our industrial assets' exposure to cyber attacks. And we all need to start thinking about cyber security first, not as an afterthought.

It's everyone's responsibility to plan for cyber security, starting when you first evaluate industrial assets for purchase. 

Here are five checklist items to think about before connecting any industrial device to a network. No, this is not an exhaustive list, but frankly I don't want take up that much of your time. (You're welcome!) This is good starting point, though.

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Topics: Internet of Things, IoT, Security, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

Is Ransomware a Threat To Your IIoT Initiatives?

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 12, 2017 8:00:00 AM

The image below still cracks me up. The captions for each of the devices are hilarious.

But in truth, ransomware is a pretty scary subject, especially when you think of it in the context of industrial technology and applications. And there’ve been quite a few unnerving stories about ransomware hacks in industrial applications lately.

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Topics: Internet of Things, Tips, IoT, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

RS-485 - To Terminate, Bias, or Both?

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 11, 2017 8:00:00 AM

That Is the Question.

RS-485 Woes

Whether you work in industrial automation, process control, machine design, or any other industrial application, at some point in time you’re going to run into an RS-485 network. And troubleshooting these networks can be an absolute nightmare.

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Topics: Tips

Tools every panel shop, electrician, and maker should have

Posted by Matt Newton on Jan 10, 2017 10:18:34 AM

What technician, engineer, or maker doesn’t like tools? Having the right tools for the job is essential in getting things done.

Few things are more satisfying than applying just the right tool to a specific problem to easily rectify the situation. Having a shop outfitted with the right tools and a good place to work makes fixing things and resolving problems that much easier.

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Topics: Tips, I/O, Raspberry Pi

The Internet of Things Got Hacked

Posted by Matt Newton on Nov 3, 2016 3:37:28 PM

And It’s Going to Happen Again.

Last week the Internet experienced the largest cyber attack in history. Many popular websites went offline for the better part of a day as three waves of cyber attacks hit the DNS infrastructure company DynDNS.

But how could an attack on a single infrastructure company wreak such havoc across the entire Internet?

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Topics: groov, Internet of Things, IoT, Networking, Security, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

Digitally Wiring the IIoT with Node-RED

Posted by Matt Newton on Oct 24, 2016 4:59:32 PM

We’re all aware of the opportunities the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is poised to deliver:

  • Using big data generated by billions of things to solve problems before they occur
  • Increasing operator situational awareness on the plant floor with mobility

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Topics: groov, Internet of Things, IoT, mobile, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

OPC and MQTT in the IIoT

Posted by Matt Newton on Sep 9, 2016 2:40:40 PM

We've talked about some technologies, like edge computing and RESTful APIs, that reduce system architecture complexity for the Internet of Things (IoT) or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). 

Reducing complexity is essential to making the IIoT work, especially for getting data from existing sensors, equipment, and devices that are functioning fine in the field but have no built-in IoT capabilities.

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Topics: Internet of Things, Remote monitoring, IoT, PACs

The TCP/IP Model - Troubleshooting the Link Layer

Posted by Matt Newton on Feb 17, 2016 4:03:51 PM

In my last blog post I talked about the TCP/IP model and why you should care about it. In a phrase: the Internet of Things (IoT). 

With all the recent attention around the IoT, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and Industry 4.0, I’m sure you’re starting to realize that networking, Internet communication, and network security are going to be important in your job as an automation professional.

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Topics: Internet of Things, IoT, Networking

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