Why Would You Put Industrial Control Systems on the Internet?

Because it is easy, doesn’t mean it is smart. Aluminum Giant Norsk Hydro Targeted by ‘Extensive Cyber-Attack.’

Cyber-attacks against industrial systems are an increasing concern, and the Norwegian aluminum giant Norsk Hydro on Tuesday provided a new and worrying example of the phenomenon.

Their aluminum smelters are all under manual operation. State of the art, 1950.

And it isn’t just that companies risk inefficiencies. Real damage to expensive systems can be sustained.

In a particularly severe case several years ago, an attack on a German steel mill caused “massive” physical damage to the plant’s furnaces.

So will hackers be able to poison a water supply? Shut down power to a city? All the so engineers don’t have to get up from their desks and walk down to the control room to check on things, or so they can work from home? That’s not a good trade-off.

One thought on “Why Would You Put Industrial Control Systems on the Internet?

  1. At my most recent employer, I managed the manufacturing network — PLC, SLC, PC, servers, and software. That network was separate from the business network (which has Internet access), and in my 10 years there I kept that wall secure.

    I was not a part of corporate IT, and we butted heads on occasion.

    At the firm’s other US facilities, the manufacturing equipment IS on the business network.

    Now that I’m gone, I imagine the IT folks are drilling holes through the walls I left.

    I can’t identify the business, but I can say that it’s subject to ITAR.

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