Importance of CyberSecurity in SCADA environment

In times of aggressive digitalization, when everything must be inter-connected and data from crucial systems must be available to many different users in any given time is even more important to have proper security measures implemented in your SCADA environment.

Sometimes even external business partners have at least some indirect partial access to the SCADA system, for example, let’s look at the demand response scenario when an electro distributor would send a demand for reducing electricity consumption to the customer.

By exploiting or abusing such interconnection the company could suffer significant damage to the business when behind would be systems that are crucial for company operability.

There are security measures and technical solutions that must be taken to properly protect our important SCADA systems. On the other hand, those security, measures, policies, and solutions must be tested frequently to get a realistic rating and overview of our SCADA systems.

When we talk about security testing or audits, we must take into consideration every single possibility od misuse of a certain SCADA device and system. From abusing vulnerabilities, bypassing technical security measures to possible manipulation with employees.

We should pay special attention to the SCADA security system because many times if such a system gets compromised there is a possibility that people could get hurt, let’s have a look at SCADA systems that are in public places responsible for maintenance of a different system, for example, swimming pools, air conditioning, and others. Not to mention SCADA systems that maintain nuclear energy systems, electro distribution, and other critical infrastructure systems.

Security or audit reports should be taken seriously, and we must eliminate all important security risks identified during audits to maintain a proper security level in our SCADA systems. It is important to make security audits and penetration tests repetitive as the SCADA systems do change, new vulnerabilities could exist, we implement new inter-connections, hire new people, etc. all this must be subject to constant checks.

Figure 1 Exploited swimming pool SCADA system

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and Innovation programme under grant agreement N°832989. All information on this website reflects only the authors' view. The Agency and the Commission are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information this website contains.

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