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Security of Water Treatment and Distribution Plants - National Critical Infrastructure

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Lohitha Chiranjeewa

on 4 April 2012

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Transcript of Security of Water Treatment and Distribution Plants - National Critical Infrastructure

Used to describe assets that are important and essential for the functioning of a country's society and economy
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems play a big role managing these systems
National Critical Infrastructure Security
How Critical
As the definition suggests, it is really important that these function without interruptions, so that public order can be maintained
Just as other critical infrastructures, water treatment and distribution holds a pole position in human well being
Uninterrupted supply of safe-to-consume water is always a critical requirement of the public, and hence need extra attention and proper management
Hence identfying open doors of SCADA systems and shutting them down is an important step in water treatment and distribution security
There are a host of identified vulnerabilities in SCADA systems, and prevention mechanisms do exist as well
The acronym for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems
Basically a computer based system for gathering and analyzing real time data
Used extensively in most Critical Infrastructures
Mainly used to control and monitor plants and complex equipment
SCADA systems exist in Sri Lanka as well, with each covering water distribution plants in different major cities
From a Sri Lankan Viewpoint...
The difference from other countries is that these systems aren't inter-networked, barring a couple of Colombo based systems
Major threats against SCADA systems
These incorrect views held by responsible personnel are major obstacles in establishing an effective security strategy
Misconceptions About SCADA Systems
SCADA systems are based on networks which are physically separated
Attackers find it difficult to break into and control SCADA systems as they require specialized knowledge to operate
Strong access control mechanisms are used to secure connections between SCADA systems and other networks
SCADA System Vulnerabilities
When it comes to security handling, SCADA systems are different from basic computer systems. Why?
SCADA systems are much broader and more complex
Hence, basic prevention methods like using passwords, antivirus software and firewalls might not always work for SCADA systems
Because of that reason, security management of SCADA systems have to be much more organized and properly managed
A step by step process is recommended to limit, and nullify if possible, the number and impact of security breaches
Strategies to Strengthen SCADA System Security
Carrying out of vulnerability assessments at regular time intervals - each of them have to be covering all areas
Managing security with the use of an expert or a specialized security organization, as opposed to relying on a software based security management system
Designing the information security architecture according to expert advices of a professional
The importance of securing critical infratructures is evident
Water treatment and distribution systems need as much attention as other infrastructures
SCADA systems has their vulnerabilities, and they've been exploited in the recent past numerous times
Hence, it's important that necessary steps are taken to secure SCADA systems, and that will in turn secure water treatment and distribution plants
Thank You
Water Treatment and Distribution Plants
Vulnerability Assessments
Information Architecture Design
Managing Security
Staff Experience
Operating System Vulnerabilities
Remote Access
Insecure Network Architecture
Lack of Real Time Monitoring
Public Information
Full transcript