SCADA Cybersecurity: Protect Critical Infrastructure and Production
Automation is a fantastic resource to leverage when streamlining your operations, enabling 24-hour production, boosting the safety of your employees, and more. Automated machines, processes, workflows, and more are vital to the success of countless enterprises and utilities —yours likely included.
Systems that are automated are often referred to as “set it and forget it” systems, but the cybersecurity risks of these systems shouldn’t be underestimated. One such example is SCADA, or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, which is operational technology consisting of several interconnected pieces. SCADA is a ripe target for malicious actors.
In this article, we’ll break down what SCADA is, its cybersecurity risks, and how SCA’s penetration testing services can ensure your company’s network is fortified against digital attacks. Keep reading to learn more!
What Is SCADA?
Supervisory control and data acquisition systems are a type of architecture that involves a variety of technologies, including:
- Networked data communications
- Graphical user interfaces
- Programmable logic controllers (PLC)
- Field sensors, actuators, valves, etc. via human-machine interfaces (HMI)
- Remote terminal units (RTU)
- And more!
These multiple resources communicate with each other to enable the high-level supervision of machines and processes across countless industries and public utilities such as power and water. SCADA control systems were first conceptualized in the mid-twentieth century, but had limited capabilities due to the state of technology at the time; a few decades later and SCADA systems are scalable to nearly any range of applications and geographic distance.
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SCADA Use Cases
SCADA control systems are deployed across almost any industry, including:
- Industrial processes: process control, fabrication, refining, manufacturing plants, and more
- Infrastructure processes: private or public utilities, wind farms, water treatment plants, water distribution, and more
- Facility processes: Buildings, space stations, ships, airports, HVAC systems, energy consumption, and more
Since automation is borderline ubiquitous at this point, SCADA systems are relied upon to manage many points of access, controls, safety measures, and more. This is fantastic for regulating important initiatives, but also reveals an equal number of opportunities for hackers and digital threats to infiltrate your company’s network.
SCADA & Cybersecurity Risks
One of the biggest growing threats is that of SCADA systems and their overlooked cybersecurity risks. Since these systems are so omnipresent and involved in countless applications, they provide ample opportunities for hackers to access your company’s network via one of the tools utilized in a SCADA process. More importantly, the capture of SCADA systems by malicious actors could shut down production or access to power or water, crippling a company’s ability to generate revenue or a public utility to deliver critical services.
Plus, SCADA systems sometimes exist on legacy systems or outdated communication protocols, often in tandem with disparate systems that were designed under the assumption that the network would be isolated from the public internet. While newer SCADA controls may still operate on individual networks, connectivity to the internet has increased and thus gaps in cybersecurity measures are left for hackers to prey upon.
Trust Your SCADA Security to SCA’s Experts
So what’s the best step for your company to take in ensuring your SCADA systems aren’t welcome signs for digital criminals? Penetration testing services administered by SCA’s cybersecurity experts are the solution you’re looking for!
The SCA pen testing team implements a comprehensive SCADA penetration testing methodology to sniff out any potential vulnerabilities that can be exploited to circumvent security measures to gain access to, maneuver within and take control of your SCADA systems while taking both legacy and contemporary architectures into consideration.
The overall process follows a similar flow as traditional network penetration testing with some subtle changes to evaluate how your SCADA systems would withstand a motivated attacker. SCA follows a white-box approach whereby we have full knowledge of target systems which may include specific IP addresses, device names, network diagrams, and a risk assessment to identify fragilities and possible mitigations.
Our team of experts has decades of experience and industry-leading certifications to ensure your SCADA systems are thoroughly tested. We’re happy to help you navigate this important measure to fortify your company’s network, data, and reputation.