RealNews

NDU prof: Digital control systems can weaken security

The growing integration of digital control systems with traditional computer networks is opening a new avenue of attack against the nation’s physical infrastructure, John H. Saunders, a professor at the National Defense University, said today. Controls for operating utilities, buildings and campuses are being turned over to cost-effective digital systems with remote access capabilities. “The security part of the equation never arises,” Saunders said at the GOVSEC security conference in Washington. “I think we’ve been lucky until now, but I wouldn’t count on that continuing. It won’t be long before anyone in the world is able to access these systems.” Proprietary protocols and single-purpose firmware have offered a degree of security for these systems. But standardizing on a few protocols is increasing the risk. “IP is overrunning this whole area,” Saunders said. “It has been adopted at all levels.” Full Story

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