Report: May meeting on Network Security

Early in the meeting Terry Ives, 2013 international ISA president, recounted his experiences with ISA along with the objectives he hopes to achieve during his current tenure. He also introduced this year’s $1000 scholarship recipient, Zachary Talbot–a 4.0 GPA student who captained the Central Bucks East varsity football team this season. Talbot will attend Penn State, pursuing dual majors in Chemical Engineering (Energy and Fuels) and in Energy Engineering. The Section’s scholarship honors the memory of C. Blair Ives, Clifton E. McLaughlin, E. Ross Forman, Past Section Presidents.

Scholarship Presentation

Left to right: Terry Ives, and three generations of Talbots–Jim, Zachary, and Gary.

Our speaker for the evening, Sven Burkard, Industrial Networking Solution Manager for Hirschmann (now a BELDEN brand), spoke on network security. He began by noting that 72% of security failures originated in the bottom three network layers: the physical, data link, and network itself. The hardware associated with these layers include the cables, switches, and router/firewalls. He continued with lists of various security incidents in the water, oil, chemical, and power industries. He touched on the Stuxnet virus that compromised centrifuges in Iran, thought to have originated in the U.S. and Israel.

Sven Burkard

Belden’s Sven Burkard speaks on avoiding compromised plant floor networks.

According to Burkard, 80% of security incidents are the result of software or device flaws, human error, and malware infection. Additionally, problems occur because the IT world has different objectives than the plant floor. He continued with seven steps to ICS and SCADA security:

  • Assess existing systems
  • Document policies and procedures
  • Train personnel and contractors
  • Design a Secure Control System Architecture
  • Control Access to the System
  • Harden the Components of the System
  • Monitor & Maintain System Security

Burkard next outlined the expectations, responsibilities, and opportunities for the Control Engineer and System Integrator. He concluded with descriptions of Belden hardware products that could contribute to plant network security. To view and download a PDF of presentation, click here.


Attendees at Rumsey Electric listen attentively.

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