When vulnerabilities are discovered, these hackers can inject malware or create backdoors to access the system later.
The motivations for these attacks vary. Some do it to extort the companies responsible for these systems. Others try to gain political leverage. No matter why these attackers are targeting SCADA systems, the potential impact on millions of lives means this is a significant national security matter.
Because these types of attacks are usually silent, SCADA system administrators have no way of knowing whether or not they have been breached without performing a SCADA vulnerability assessment.
SCADA Vulnerability Assessment Requirements
A vulnerability assessment checks for the most common SCADA system threats and vulnerabilities.
A report presented at the 15th Annual Joint ISA POWID/EPRI Controls and Instrumentation Conference identified three steps in finding SCADA vulnerabilities:
- Perform reconnaissance to gather information on the target system if not previously defined in the assessment plan
- Scan the SCADA network for open ports and vulnerabilities
- Achieve the TOEs defined in the assessment plan
For instance, many SCADA system architectures were added onto over time with components upgraded gradually. This means a system may contain 20-year-old technology working together with new technologies.
Hackers understand this. Even something as simple as a laptop with a wireless transmitter can be used near a network station to send counterfeit controls or instructions, such as disabling a safety valve or reporting false temperature readings. If left unresolved, these vulnerabilities could potentially lead to catastrophic failure and affect the lives of millions of people.
Conducting a SCADA Vulnerability Assessment
There are two options when identifying vulnerabilities and making a plan to resolve any potential threats:
- First, your organization can conduct a SCADA vulnerability assessment in-house. Government agencies have developed a guide to provide a rough overview of this process.
- Second, you can have experienced professionals systematically and thoroughly test your SCADA system for vulnerabilities, make a plan for resolving identified weaknesses, and deliver training to ensure new security protocols are followed by your employees.
In terms of expertise, amount of time saved, and overall dollar savings, having experienced SCADA security consultants conduct the assessment is more effective than conducting a self-audit. Consultants will be more familiar with current trends and threats to SCADA systems. They will also have cutting-edge solutions to eliminate vulnerabilities and prevent future attacks.
Contact Patriot Technologies for a SCADA Vulnerability Assessment
The longer your SCADA system’s vulnerabilities remain unaddressed, the more opportunity cyber criminals have to attack the nation’s critical infrastructures. Securing SCADA systems for electric power distributors and water distributors are both essential for the potential impact on national security. Reach out to the experienced SCADA security consultants at Patriot Technologies today to begin your SCADA vulnerability assessment.
Have questions or want additional information on our services? Contact Patriot Technologies online to speak to a representative.