WannaCry Ransomware. Is Your SCADA Network At Risk?

Posted by Matt Newton on May 16, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Undoubtedly you’ve heard of the most recent ransomware attack plaguing the globe. It started late last week and so far has infected machines across 150 countries.

As the name suggests, the virus in effect holds the infected computer hostage and demands that the victim pay a ransom in order to regain access to the files on his or her computer. You can learn more about ransomware in this previous blog post.

But let’s get down to what you need to know. Here are the latest facts about WannaCry that you need to be aware of to make sure your systems are not at risk.

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Topics: Security

Encryption In Automation

Posted by Matt Newton on Apr 11, 2017 2:51:12 PM

As the IIoT continues its widespread adoption, a lot of new IT technologies are quickly being adopted by the industrial automation and process control industries. More and more, industrial assets are becoming Internet enabled and being connected to other digital systems.

Monitoring OEE and KPIs in real time from a mobile device is no longer a pie-in-the-sky application. It’s happening right now, through the convergence of OT and IT.

One of the technologies that’s enabling the IIoT is secure digital communication. And to establish that secure communication, you need to have an authority you can trust that can validate the indentity of devices on a network and on the Internet. You have to trust that the encrypted connection you're using is actually connected to the device you want to talk to, and not to some rogue node trying to breach your network and steal your information.

That’s where Certificate Authorities come into play in the IIoT.

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Topics: Process control, Internet of Things, IoT, PACs, Security, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things

Are you protecting your SCADA system from ransomware?

Posted by Matt Newton on Mar 23, 2017 8:00:00 AM

In a previous blog post we covered what ransomware is and how it’s being used to target industrial users like water and wastewater SCADA systems.

Ransomware is basically when a hacker obtains control of your data, or even your control network and automation systems, and won’t relinquish control back to you until a ransom is paid.

It's a major potential threat against IIoT applications.

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Topics: PACs, Security, IIoT

Social Engineering: Your automation network's largest security vulnerability

Posted by Matt Newton on Mar 21, 2017 8:00:00 AM


When most people think about cyber security, they probably conjure up thoughts of someone locked away in a dark room, wearing the same grey hoodie for months. Staring at a screen for days at a time looking for just the right network packet to tell them where and how to attack. But that's not always how hacking is done.

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Topics: Process control, PACs, Networking, Security

Will Blockchain Secure Your Industrial IoT Network?

Posted by Matt Newton on Mar 16, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Most people relate the term blockchain to an Internet currency or peer-to-peer payment system called Bitcoin.

But there’s way more value to blockchain technology than just a payment system.

And it just might help us solve a lot of problems related to industrial cyber security, particularly in Industrial Internet of Things applications.

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

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

OptoNews: New blog posts on security in automation

Posted by Jean Femia on Jan 18, 2017 3:21:12 PM

You never feel like you know enough about security.

And security issues and recommendations are constantly changing, as the bad guys try to hack in and the good guys try to keep them out. 

Here are a couple of new blog posts on this important subject, both by Opto 22's Matt Newton, who has years of experience in both automation and IT (information technology). 

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Topics: Internet of Things, PLCs, IoT, optonews, PACs, Security, IIoT, Industrial Internet of Things, OptoNews 2017-01-18

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

OptoNews: Data center retrofit after 30 years

Posted by Jean Femia on Dec 14, 2016 3:58:11 PM

  • Think about how much computers have changed in the last 30 years.
  • Think about the quantity of data that enterprise data centers (EDCs) process today.
  • And think about how facility management priorities have changed to meet rising energy costs.

Now imagine what needs to be done to update a 30-year-old EDC.

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Topics: Energy management, Case studies, Videos, optonews, PACs, Building management, Security, REST API, RESTful server, REST, OptoNews 2016-12-14

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

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