The vulnerability of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) systems is a major concern both for their beneficiaries, as well as for all those involved in the development of such software solutions. While software engineers (in and beyond ICS), know that a solid software architecture and reliable coding are the only way to go to reduce cyber risks, the users sometimes neglect the best practices in the daily use of software solutions. When steering away from code that ends up being vulnerable, or easy to control via data breaches, as well as from its faulty deployment or configuration, the ICS-based recommendation can do no harm. They are also useful when considering other types of software solutions.
We browsed a few recommended methods for developing strong and reliable ICS software solutions, on the users’ side.
The ICS system environment induces an urgent need to solve or avoid vulnerabilities. This urgency drives best practices in this line of work. By extension, any solution with implications or application in the IoT field can be approached in the same way, even if the effects of its potential vulnerabilities are sometimes more difficult to grasp. But any element in an interconnected system is essential because the system is as protected as its weakest element is.
A seven steps list to avoid cyber risks, from Automation World
The list comes from a supplier of industrial cybersecurity software and services. It’s meant to provide a solid grounding for all the types of professionals who are involved in building and delivering safe and secure ICS software solutions.
As the author mentions, the list summarizes the “core steps every industrial company should take to secure their control systems at the most basic level”
Design your network with cyber security in mind
- The software solutions beneficiaries/users should secure their networks to avoid exposure
Monitor your deployed software
- Make sure you notice events and any abnormal behavior before it’s too late
Keep a tight inventory of all devices connected to your network
- “From controllers to human-machine interfaces (HMIs) to engineering workstations, all assets on your network should be accurately inventoried so there aren’t any unknown devices, thereby enabling rogue assets to be quickly identified”.
Manage your logs, to understand the behavior of all involved devices
- You can optimize performance once you have the complete image
Manage the configurations of all involved devices
Use industrial firewalls
Institute privilege control
As a user of software solutions, do these recommendations sound familiar?
Avoiding cyber risks is a common effort. Good software engineers strive to build and deliver the best, most secure products. Vigilant users should join in by materializing best practices, such as those mentioned above.