Cybersecurity for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems is critical to protecting our nation's infrastructure. SCADA systems manage and control everything from water treatment plants to electricity grids, so it is essential that these systems are protected from cyberattacks.
Fortunately, there are options available to improve cybersecurity of SCADA systems.
- What is SCADA Cybersecurity?
- SCADA Cybersecurity vs. Traditional Security
- SCADA Network Security Threats
- Peace-of-Mind Cybersecurity for SCADA Networks
What is SCADA Cybersecurity?
SCADA cybersecurity is the practice of engineering and protecting supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks.
Millions of people rely on these networks for automated control and remote human management of crucial commodities and services, including water, natural gas, electricity and transportation. They can also be used to streamline other processes in the real world that some might consider nonessential but are actually very important. SCADA is one of the most prevalent types of industrial control systems (ICS).
Any network - including SCADA - are under threat of crippling cyber-attacks that could take down the nation's infrastructure if precautions aren't put into place. Another big worry is capital expenditure; a SCADA system could set an organization back anywhere from ten thousand to millions of dollars. Because of this, it's crucial that organizations establish secure SCADA measures to safeguard their infrastructure as well as the people who would be hugely impacted by any form of disruption caused externally or internally.
SCADA Cybersecurity vs. Traditional Security
SCADA cybersecurity has improved a lot in the past few years. In the old days, the only way to keep an eye on what was happening in a SCADA system was to have people stationed at every location. This meant having technicians physically present at each station permanently to operate everything and communicate using telephone wires. (You can see a lot has changed with the advancement of phones and communication!)
Prior to the local area network (LAN) being created, we didn't see many advances in SCADA development. Once LANs were established and system miniaturization became more prevalent, we started seeing distributed SCADA networks emerge. Eventually, this led to networked systems that could communicate across wide area networks (WAN), thus connecting even more components together.
Though progress is necessary, it oftentimes comes with a price, as was the case for the SCADA network. Systems which used to rely on proprietary protocols that weren't particularly harmful have turned into internet protocol (IP) systems that are now vulnerable to all IP-related threats.
SCADA Network Security Threats
SCADA security threats are a vulnerability for any organization that works with SCADA systems, from local companies to federal governments. These threats can have serious consequences on both the economy and society at large. Some specific SCADA network vulnerabilities include:
Cyber-attacks on SCADA networks can have devastating consequences, ranging from disruptions in service to cyber warfare. By gaining access to key components of a SCADA system, hackers could wreak havoc on an organization.
Malware, such as viruses, spyware and ransomware can endanger SCADA systems. Even if malware is not built to target the network directly, it can still be a threat to crucial infrastructure that aids in managing the SCADA network. For instance, mobile applications used to keep an eye on and manage SCADA systems are also at risk.
Insider threats are just as harmful as external risks. From human error to an unhappy employee or contractor, SCADA security must address these issues.
Peace-of-Mind Cybersecurity for SCADA Networks
Without the correct security measures in place, it can be very tough to manage a SCADA network today. A lot of networks still lack fundamental detection and monitoring systems which leave them open to attacks. Because SCADA network attacks target both cyber weaknesses and physical vulnerabilities, it is important to link up cybersecurity efforts accordingly.
No business is entirely safe from ransomware or other cybersecurity attacks, but you can still show that your company takes steps to prevent security breaches and data loss. Security threats and non-compliance risks, your business will reap many benefits.
Allow us to help you by proactively meeting all your cybersecurity and compliance needs today.
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