Monday, March 25, 2013

NatGas Cybersecurity getting a lot more Visibility


Thanks to colleague H. Chantz for spotting this article and sending this way.

As has been the case quite a bit this year, once again we are in the realm of SCADA/Control System security. William Rush of the Gas Technology Institute states it plainly, if somewhat dramatically:
Anyone can blow up a gas pipeline with dynamite. But with this stolen information, if I wanted to blow up not one, but 1,000 compressor stations, I could,” he adds. “I could put the attack vectors in place, let them sit there for years, and set them all off at the same time. I don’t have to worry about getting people physically in place to do the job, I just pull the trigger with one mouse click.
There are no NERC CIPs for the gas industry, but with 25-30% of US electric power and a whole lot of home heating coming from gas, it's time to get moving on better securing this infrastructure.

Pipeline operators, now alerted to the fact that sensitive access control information to important subsystems is in the hands of folks outside the industry (and outside the country it seems), need to get moving. And I'm sure they will, but it's a BIG job.

The whole Christian Science Monitor article is HERE.

Photo credit: War News Updates

27 comments:

Dale Peterson said...

Andy,

Many of the compressor stations have disconnected, non-networked, old-fashioned safety systems that would prevent a compressor station from "blowing up".

Of course some owner/operators have been swayed by vendors into integrating safety and control systems and then a "blowing up" cyber attack is possible. This is a trend to watch and forestall in the future.

While blowing up is a more vivid image, the actual danger in gas and water system is often under pressure. This is expensive and takes time to recover from, and the safety systems don't typically stop this.

Dale Peterson
www.digitalbond.com

Andy Bochman said...

Thanks a lot for that clarification, Dale.

David Hemsath said...

I try to go walking before business meetings. Once I walked by a couple of above-ground gas pipes/junctions along a busy road with no physical security. Someone with bad intent, or even a car accident could cause a lot of grief. So, in addition to cyber security, physical security needs to be upgraded.

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