The software that wasn’t there

Do you need to be concerned about security issues with programs that you don’t use? Yes.

10/07/2011


Dear Control Engineering:

I found an interesting comment in an article about cyber security fixes for SCADA systems. The article says: “AzeoTech eliminated the vulnerable feature in the next version (Version 5.86). The company did not document the feature, so AzeoTech does not believe any of their customers were using it. Therefore, its removal should not adversely affect any DAQFactory users.” Do I need to be concerned about vulnerabilities in software that I don’t use?

Yes. You need to be concerned about any vulnerability in your system, even if it is in an application you don’t use. If it’s there, the vulnerability can probably be exploited.

That’s why cyber security experts recommend two important things:

• Know all the software that is on your systems, and
• Don’t have any software that you don’t need.

Somewhere you need to have a list that is constantly updated to reflect the most recent version of every program running on your networks. If you don’t have such a list, start compiling it. Once you have the list, make sure there is nothing there that isn’t necessary. If you find a program that you didn’t realize was there, was installed some time ago for a temporary purpose, or that nobody uses, get rid of it. Don’t just disable it, get rid of it. Otherwise, a cyber criminal may find a weak program and exploit a vulnerability, and when the attack hits, you will have no idea what happened. Programs that you don’t think about don’t get patched, so old weaknesses can be there until they’re discovered by a bad guy.

Update the list every time you get an update for any program, no matter how trivial. Your ability to resist an attack may depend on one little patch, and you need to know whether it’s been implemented or not.

Peter Welander, pwelander@cfemedia.com

 

See the Safety and Security Channel.

http://www.controleng.com/channels/plant-safety-and-security.html

See other Ask Control Engineering Blog postings

http://www.controleng.com/blogs/ask-control-engineering.html



No comments
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.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me