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While much is made of an ‘attack of the robots’ displacing tens of millions of workers from once job-rich industries, but those charged with safeguarding the workings of modern society are preoccupied with another assault – attacks on the robots and other automated cyber-physical systems.
It doesn’t take an engineer to appreciate persistent warnings of a coming “Cyber Pearl Harbor” targeting the automated devices that run critical infrastructure. Hackers employ many methods (including the unnerving Shodan search engine) to worm their way into sensitive industrial control systems – often targeting automation that is running vital infrastructure including power grids, public water systems, oil and gas infrastructure (pipelines, refineries, depots, etc.) and transportation systems.
A tidal wave of increasing connectivity is being driven deeper and deeper into automation to improve operating efficiency and reliability. For this reason, industrial automation networks are in dire need of improved security still allowing them to retain their flexibility and compatibility with existing automation protocols which often have little-to-no communications security features. Fortunately, we now have a standardized means for frustrating the attacks on these systems by securely segmenting communications on top of standard IP protocols. TCG standards can be implemented today to provide increased security and protection from unauthorized ICS access.