Defense from tainted mobile devices

Solutions such as Secure Media Exchange (SMX) are designed to protect facilities against USB threats without the need for procedures or restrictions that impact operations or industrial personnel.


http://www.isssource.comWorkers and contractors are under stress every day to get work done as productively and quickly as possible so sometimes that means taking some shortcuts.

That could mean the worker or contractor might whip out a mobile phone, a USB stick or a hard drive to pull files to help solve a problem.

That is exactly the time when malware can enter a system and head down a destructive path.

One fix to that problem is the Secure Media Exchange (SMX) launched by Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) that can protect facilities against USB threats, without the need for complex procedures or restrictions that impact operations or industrial personnel.

“SMX has information on threats in the wild, providing quick analysis of everything on the drive,” said Seth Carpenter, software engineer at HPS during a conference call. “It will do analysis of files that haven’t been seen before and then all the verified files that are approved to go through the system get checked in and they are ready to move on. From there he unplugs the USB drive and goes to the system he wants to work on and goes through another process.”

That is where a second check occurs.

“There is software running on all the protected endpoints that is going to verify the person went through the proper process,” Carpenter said. “It is going to see what files were approved to go through the system, if there are any files quarantined he won’t be able to use them. He then just goes about his job as normal. If he goes through the initial check in, there is no problem. At the end of day if he goes through the check out, he can use his USB stick as he normally would.”

Carpenter gave an example of when he was a young engineer and nearing the end of a project an older engineer need to solve a problem so he pulled out his own portable hard drive to find a file. From out of nowhere someone came “running and shouting, no, no, no.”

If that hard drive had any malicious files, it could have prevented the project from starting up on time.

Malware spread through USB devices by employees and contractors to patch, update and exchange data with onsite control and computer systems, was the second leading threat to these systems in 2016, according to a report from BSI publications.

Uncontrolled USBs have taken power plants offline, downed turbine control workstations, infected a steel plant with Conficker.

One of the issues about security is it can be onerous to users and takes up way too much time.

With SMX, the user plugs the USB drive into the module and then it scans the device to look for and remove malware.

When the user plugs in the USB, it has an easy to use format that lets you know what to do each step of the way. In addition, depending on the size of the drive and how many files it has, the time frame to gain system approval should not be very long.

“We want it to be user friendly and easy to use,” Carpenter said.

Plugging in a USB drive and finding known malicious files is one thing, but what about a Zero Day that has no known signature?

“This is where a connection into Honeywell’s Advanced Threat Intelligence Exchange (ATIX) comes in as an additional detection we do,” Carpenter said. “We use signature-based detection, exploit-based detection, heuristic-based detection and dynamic analysis of things that come in. What happens with a file that has never been seen before, not known to be good or bad, is we give the customers an option to upload the files to ATIX and we can do some advanced analysis. We can run it in sandboxes so we can see if the files do something malicious. We can run it in sandboxed environments that are specific to control systems. We look for the malicious behavior and we notify system administrator.”

Gregory Hale is editor and founder of ISSSource, and has over 25 years in the publishing industry. This article originally appeared on ISSSource is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Carly Marchal, content specialist, CFE Media.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
Doubling down on digital manufacturing; Data driving predictive maintenance; Electric motors and generators; Rewarding operational improvement
2017 Lubrication Guide; Software tools; Microgrids and energy strategies; Use robots effectively
Prescriptive maintenance; Hannover Messe 2017 recap; Reduce welding errors
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Mobility as the means to offshore innovation; Preventing another Deepwater Horizon; ROVs as subsea robots; SCADA and the radio spectrum
Research team developing Tesla coil designs; Implementing wireless process sensing
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; Paralleling switchgear generator systems
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
Featured articles highlight technologies that enable the Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies to get data more easily to the user.
This digital report will explore several aspects of how IIoT will transform manufacturing in the coming years.
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me