Industrial Automation Insider 2013 Puts Fight Against Cyber Crime Back on Agenda

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Has the industry been caught in a state of hibernation, asks Nick Denbow, author of the Automation Insider. While some of us may still be fighting their holiday pounds, the industry is already gearing up. Now attention in 2013 turns to worries on cyber crime...

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(Picture: Process)

After an extended holiday period, taking up the latter weeks of December, with holidays that go on into the start of new year, it was noticeable that the whole industry then seemed to go into total hibernation for the rest of January this year. However, by the end of the month, there were some signs of life returning to the departments responsible for external communications!

First off the blocks really, with a good set of product developments and application stories, was GE Oil & Gas, with their 14th annual User Group meeting held in Florence: see page 3 for a report on their meeting - which hosted around 1000 executives assembled from the industries that seem to have been the prime focus for most automation businesses for at least the past year.

Gloom and Doom from Eric Byres

Eric Byres of Tofino Security summed up what seemed to be the mood of the rest of the industry in his blog at the end of the month, discussing rain, grey skies and credit card bills – but the main topic was his prediction for the gloom and disasters coming, in his “SCADA Security Predictions” for the coming year.

His first prediction is that tablets and smart phones will start to make their way onto the plant floor - Byres comments: “This won’t be pretty from a security point of view, but we will have to get used to it.

Maybe it will drive the industry to deploy holistic security strategies rather than the security band-aids so often seen now.” Byres also sees a growth in the usability and consistency of the emerging international standards on security: and the issue of professional certification for cyber security experts.