IEEE Addresses SCADA Security Standard Challenges

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

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The IEEE has announced that a dedicated workgroup will begin the process of revising the Secure Authentication (SA) protocols contained in its IEEE 1815 Distributed Network Protocol (DNP3) standard.

The revisions are intended to "help bolster overall security for data information gathering, exchange, and use in applications like supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems," according to the IEEE.

The IEEE is the world's largest professional association dedicated to the advancement of technology, with participating members in over 160 countries.

The workgroup's revisions will address growing concerns about the inherent vulnerabilities in industrial control systems governing critical infrastructure, including energy production, water treatment, the emerging Smart Grid, and other vital systems.

"As the rate of bolder, more sophisticated cyber attacks continues to spiral upward, ensuring data integrity and security has become increasingly challenging. By necessity, preventing unauthorized intrusion into critical systems has become a top priority," said H. Lee Smith, chair of the IEEE 1815 Working Group.

"By delivering robust security protocols that are attuned to both existing and emerging threats, SA Version 5 will help minimize risk while ensuring the continued efficient and safe operation of vital infrastructures," Smith continued.

The IEEE's announcement follows the news that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released updated standards guidelines for converting the nation's outdated power grid structure to a modern smart grid operation.

"Disruptive innovations like the Smart Grid hold vast potential for significantly improving the quality of life for millions of people around the world. Preserving and advancing these nascent technologies requires the adoption of proactive strategies to solve security challenges at their inception, rather than after the fact,” said Judy Gorman, IEEE-SA managing director.

Some of revisions will focus on authentication and access control issues, and "will strengthen and enhance the standard’s ability to unambiguously determine whether access to data and internal systems has been authorized," according to the IEEE.

  • For more information on the DNP Users Group, please visit the DNP website
Source:  http://standards.ieee.org/news/2011/1815dnp3.html
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