Critical infrastructures, such as power plants, transportation systems, oil and chemical factories etc, are large, distributed complexes. Plant operators must continuously monitor and control many different sections of the plant to ensure its proper operation. During the last decades this remote command and control has been made feasible due to the development of networking technology and the advent of Industrial Control Systems (ICS). ICS are command and control networks and systems designed to support industrial processes. The largest subgroup of ICS is SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems.
ICS are nowadays standard technologies, highly interconnected with other corporate networks and the Internet. Today, ICS products are mostly based on standard embedded systems platforms. These are applied in various devices, such as routers or cable modems, and they often use commercial off-the shelf software. All this has resulted in reduction of costs, ease of use and enabled the remote control and monitoring from various locations. However, an important drawback derived from the connection to intranets and communication networks, is the increased vulnerability to computer network-based attacks.
Agency ICS Security action
Recognising the importance of these challenges, ENISA launched a series of activities, to bring the relevant stakeholders together to identify the main concerns regarding the security of ICS.
Panorama study of ICS
The Agency has done research and is preparing a survey-based study on ICS. The study will provide a current ‘panorama’ of the ICS protection, threats, risks and challenges primarily in Europe, but also in the international context. Furthermore, it details pan-European and international initiatives on ICS security.
Outline of the report
Almost one hundred key findings have been identified and grouped into various thematic categories. It starts with the biggest challenges in ICS security, and continues with a multiplicity of topics on ICS security. This includes:
• standards, guidelines, and regulatory documentation,
• information sharing,
• public-private partnerships and other initiatives,
• dissemination and awareness,
• technical security aspects,
• present and future of research,
• pending debates and other related issues.
Based on the findings, recommendations to both the public and private sector are given. These recommendations provides practical advice to improve current initiatives, enhancing co-operation, developing new measures and good practices, and reducing barriers to information sharing.
The recommendations will e.g. call for the creation of the national and pan-European ICS security strategies, the development of a Good Practices Guide on the ICS security, fostering awareness and education as well as research activities or the establishment of a common test bed.
The final version of the report is expected for the delivery in the beginning of December, 2011.
Study design highlights
• Over 50 questionnaires by top experts from all involved sectors analysed
• Almost 30 experts interviewed to obtain additional detailed information
• Over 30 guidelines, standards & regulatory documents compiled
• Over 60 initiatives identified
• Over 90 key findings derived
• Over 100 information sources consulted
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