Pursuing the discipline of control system cyber security

As a relative newbie to the world of control system cyber security (who isn't?) but an old-timer to control system functional safety, there are two things I have noticed. One, the best performing companies approach safety and security as an engineering discipline. Two, they maintain discipline by having a deeply embedded safety and security corporate culture.

09/01/2009


As a relative newbie to the world of control system cyber security (who isn't?) but an old-timer to control system functional safety, there are two things I have noticed. One, the best performing companies approach safety and security as an engineering discipline. Two, they maintain discipline by having a deeply embedded safety and security corporate culture.

What does it mean to approach safety and security as an engineering discipline? It's easier to answer that today by looking at functional safety, because that field is far more mature than "functional security," which, as a term, is just beginning to be defined and adopted by industry. About 15 years ago, there were no broadly accepted standards on how to design and implement a safety system. In fact, there was not even consensus on what these systems were called.

Names ranged from emergency shutdown system to Safety Instrumented System (SIS) with about a dozen names in between. With a lack of standards and very little published material on how to design these systems, most control system engineers avoided safety system design like the plague. Those that dared work on these systems were revered in the same way ancient cultures revered the medicine man.

The situation started to change around 1996 with the first release of ISA's Standard S84, and subsequently acceptance of the international standard IEC 61511 in 2004. The standards defined a safety lifecycle and the underlying methodologies that enabled engineers to apply the same kind of engineering rigor and discipline to designing safety systems that they were used to applying in other aspects of control system design. An international engineering standard enabled industry to respond with training, textbooks, services and even professional certification for functional safety experts through independent, non-profit organizations such as the Certified Functional Safety Expert (CFSE) Governance Board ( www.cfse.org ).

This revolution has yet to occur within the field of functional security but, based on history, I predict we are on the brink of a similar revolution in that field. ISA has released several parts of ANSI/ISA S99 Standard, and the ISA Security Compliance Institute ( www.isa.org ) indicates they will have an Embedded Controller Certification Program operational in the fall of 2009.

The other discipline I spoke of is the discipline of a safety and security corporate culture. What does it mean to have a safety and security culture? First, it means management commitment originating from the highest levels of the organization. Second, it means management demonstrates that commitment by establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving process safety and process security management systems. Finally, it means enforcing these systems and holding individuals accountable for failure to follow them.

Recent process safety incidents and the fact that they are still occurring after more than 15 years of progress on the engineering side, indicate that there is still a long way to go in establishing a safety and security culture in many corporations. For example, according to data provided by the Repository of Industrial Security Incidents ( www.securityincidents.org ), two serious control system-related process safety incidents occurred at the same chemical facility in Institute, WV. In August 1985 the facility, then owned by Union Carbide, leaked methylene chloride and aldicarb oxime. The leak resulted from a computer program that was not yet programmed to recognize aldicarb oxime, compounded by human error when the operator misinterpreted the results of the program to imply the presence of methyl isocyanate.

More than 20 years later, on Aug. 28, 2008, an explosion and fire occurred at the same plant, now owned by Bayer CropScience. The explosion ruptured the residue treater and launched it 50 feet in the air. Two operators died. Reports indicate there were significant lapses in the plant's process safety management including overrides on the SIS to accommodate long-standing heater problems, plus failure to provide adequate operator training on the same SIS.

William Feather said, "If we don't discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us." The discipline of control system cyber security needs to become part of the corporate culture, as does safety.


Author Information
John Cusimano is director of exida's security services division. He is a process automation safety systems expert with more than 20 years of experience.




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