SCADA and ICS systems are now self-healing!

SCADA and ICS systems are now self-healing!

Henry Dalziel | SCADA News and Training | May 18, 2013

SCADA is constantly in the news these days. The latest news is that SCADA systems are getting smarter, and it appears, thanks to hard work from researchers from NC State University, industrial control systems can now even think for themselves! Researchers at NCSU have built a SCADA system that has peer-to-peer influence in that if it feels that one of its’ connected siblings is not working as it should – it can simply turn it off, or notify the system administrator regarding any irregularities.

The invention is referred to as a ‘secure distributed control methodology’ and can be placed within legacy systems such as PLCs. The software works by using a reputation manager and an algorithm that has a highly acute way of being able to detect patterns and from that data and flag suspicious activity.

Not only does this technology represent yet another SCADA security measure but it also allows for developers and engineers to find inefficiencies within their systems. The software is designed to complement existing operating systems rather than act as a standalone device or item of hardware.

Mo-Yuen Chow, leading the research, sums up their project as such:

“Commercial SCADA security uses a police car and travels and monitors the area. Ours is more like a community watch.”

The technology is described as being ‘next-generation security technology’ and is a security-first application – something which we is desperately needed within the SCADA space. The interesting thing about this project is how effective it will be. Understanding patterns is certainly a complex process and with ICS systems having to compute millions of bytes of data a second it will be fascinating to see how efficient NCSU’s software will be.

Our understanding is that the team wish to commercialize the software and we wish them all the best!

Please let us know your thoughts – we are especially interested to hear from anyone with SCADA security experience.

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