Friday, October 29, 2010

The Harsh (Security) Reality of Old Software in the Current and Future Grid

You know I'm always advocating for getting better security awareness and process into everything we do with Smart Grid software. Whether it's developing policy, getting tools and building secure processes into the software development lifecycle (SDLC), and/or educating and arming orgs on what questions to ask software vendors re: the security rigor they include (or fail to include) in the development and integration of the products they market.

Sounds like a pretty good idea. Could make the Smart Grid and utilities' worlds and the North American grid infrastructure a whole lot safer and better, right?  

But then someone comes along and rains on my parade. And not just anyone, but a card carrying grid guru with more experience in this field than just about any other mortal. And what does he say?  This:
One must keep in mind that there will be far more poorly coded, totally untrustworthy firmware and software in the field for decades (the existing installed base) than new, more secure systems following sound development practices installed over the same time period. Dealing with this reality and the fact that the old stuff will not be ripped out should be a priority.
"Thanks" to Erich Gunther of Enernex. So, sports fans, while I and others keep beating the drum for more-secure new software, would a few of you mind getting on the challenge Erich's pointing out? Like, right away please.

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