Securing SCADA networks and national infrastructure

How alarming was it to read that foreign hackers managed to cause physical damage at a U.S. water utility in a cyberattack?

Recent reports of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system attacks at facilities in Illinois and in Texas, highlight the increasingly important role of network security and security management in protecting national infrastructure.

In relation to the Illinois incident, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman said,” DHS and the FBI are gathering facts surrounding the report of a water pump failure in Springfield, Ill.

“At this time there is no credible, corroborated data that indicates a risk to critical infrastructure entities or a threat to public safety," Peter Boogaard went on to say in an interview with SC Magazine.

But, as Engadget pointed out, the possibility of such attacks was demonstrated in August at the Black Hat conference. Americans should be asking:

  • What’s the nature and degree of vulnerability?
  • What can government and industry do to lower the threat level?

How many more of these alarms have to sound before this conversation migrates from security blogs and Twitter timelines to the dinner table to legislators’ phone lines?

For an overview of some of the key concerns around securing SCADA networks, you can view an archived webcast on the subject from Dell SecureWorks.

About the Author: Nicole Smith