Industrial Control System (ICS) is a collective term used to describe different types of control systems and associated instrumentation, which include the devices, systems, networks, and controls used to operate and/or automate industrial processes.
One of the most common Industrial Control Systems is a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. It’s important to note that a SCADA is not a system that can provide full control. Instead its capabilities are focused on providing control at the supervisory level. SCADA systems are composed of devices (generally Programmable Logic Controllers or other commercial hardware modules) that are distributed in various locations.
SCADA systems can acquire and transmit data, and are integrated with a Human Machine Interface (HMI) that provides centralized monitoring and control for numerous process inputs and outputs. The primary purpose of using SCADA is for long distance monitoring and control of field sites through a centralized control system. In lieu of workers having to travel long distances to perform tasks or gather data, a SCADA system is able to automate this task.
SCADA systems are commonly used in industries involving pipeline monitoring and control, water treatment centers and distribution, and electrical power transmission and distribution.
Protecting Industrial Control Systems such as SCADA networks has become a top priority in light of increased cyberattacks worldwide. These networks are a prime target for cyber criminals who could bring down any part of the nation’s critical infrastructure quickly and with dire consequences if the right security is not in place.
Cyber threats are multi-pronged and include:
- Hackers – Individuals or groups with malicious intent.
- Malware – Includes viruses, spyware and ransomware that could pose a threat to SCADA systems.
- Terrorists – Unlike hackers who are motivated by sordid gain, terrorists are driven by the desire to cause as much mayhem and damage as possible.
- Employees — From human error to a disgruntled employee or contractor, it is essential that SCADA security addresses these risks.
Want to learn more? Tonex offers Industrial Control System (ICS) and SCADA Cybersecurity Training, a 3-day course that helps participants learn how to support and defend an Industrial Control System to operate in a threat-free environment and to be resilient against emerging cybersecurity threats.
Additionally, Tonex offers nearly three dozen other Cybersecurity Foundation courses including:
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.