IT in Manufacturing


Industrial cybersecurity risk assessment and management

Technews Industry Guide: Industrial Internet of Things & Industry 4.0 IT in Manufacturing

Since the acceptance of the various IEC62443 modules as national standards: SANS62443-2-1/4, SATS62443-1-1 and SATR62443-3-1, there has been confusion about the requirements, methodologies and implementation. In this we are not unique as similar confusion reigned when ISA99 (the precursor of the IEC standard) was introduced internationally.

Two aspects are causing particular concern:

• Implementation of a cybersecurity management system (CSMS).

• Risk assessment.

In the case of the CSMS, there are extensive application notes and papers available. This article addresses the second and arguably more frustrating aspect.

The rationale behind risk assessment

SANS62443-2-1:2016 indicates that the risk analysis should consist of two aspects. The first is the rationale that covers situation/risks specific to the business. The second is the risk identification, classification and assessment with section 4.2.3 detailing all the requirements, and this is exactly where most of the confusion arises. Once one analyses the requirements it can be condensed into the following key outcomes:

• A risk assessment methodology must be selected – it is not prescribed.

• A high level risk assessment is required.

• A detailed risk assessment is required after the high level assessment and prioritisation.

• The methodologies do not need to be the same.

• Periodic reassessment is required.

Unfortunately, in South Africa very few operators of industrial plants actually implement the risk assessment process for cybersecurity, and those that do, almost never go into the detailed assessment requirements. As will be explained, there are good reasons why both must be done.

The high level assessment establishes the baseline and should deliver the following outcomes:

• Establishing the ‘real estate’ – this means what equipment is being used/affected and having as much detail as possible.

• Get general information around vulnerabilities and support status of xthe equipment.

• Determine management/process gaps through an evaluation process. Addressing these gaps (policies, procedures training etc.) is not part of the risk assessment process and is typically handled by a separate team.

• Do preliminary system segregation (this is on a theoretical not actual implementation level).

• Determine the target SL (security level) per zone.

• Do preliminary prioritisation of zone security implementations.

There are numerous tools available to do this assessment and selection is very dependent on the type of industry. Both this and the detailed assessment require a comprehensive team to complete successfully. The SL determination is critical as it determines the minimum level of security controls that must be put in place. Since there are always limitations on security budgets, the prioritisation allows one to focus on the zones with the greatest impact.

A security zone will typically contain two or more systems. The detailed assessment allows for lower level prioritisation, specifically:

• System priority.

• Specific vulnerability priority.

Three steps to a structured approach

Unfortunately, unlike the high level assessment there is no single software tool to address the process and one needs to use a variety of tools and systems together, check and verify the information. It is also an iterative process where certain steps might have to be repeated multiple times as new information is uncovered. Much of the information gathered in the high level assessment will be reused. Detailed discussion of the process falls outside the scope of this article; however, Proconics uses a NIST800-82R2-based process that is shown below. It consists of three phases with sub steps in each.

Stage 1 – asset ID and characterisation: define business objectives (business rationale in SANS62443); system classification; asset ID; network topology and data flow; and risk pre-screening (optional).

Stage 2 – vulnerability and threat modelling: security policy review; standards audit and GAP analysis; industrial cyber vulnerability assessment; threat assessment; attack vector assessment; risk scenario creation; and scenario validation (optional).

Stage 3 – risk calculation and management: calculate quantitative (monetary/safety) risk; prioritise mitigation; and mitigation validation (optional).

In conclusion, it can be seen that while the SANS62443 suite can be daunting, if one follows a structured and complete approach it is possible to manage risks. The process described here is not perfect and will not guarantee a fully secured plant, but it does allow for continuous and incremental improvement in security deployment.

For more information contact Cobus Pool, Proconics, +27 17 620 9600, mail@proconics.co.za, www.proconics.co.za



Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Get full value from factory floor data with data sciences
October 2021, Omron Electronics , IT in Manufacturing
Valuable information needs to be extracted from the data and presented to the right audience, at the right time and in the right way.

Read more...
Collaboration in the automation ecosystem
October 2021, EPLAN Software & Services , IT in Manufacturing
Data created in the engineering process must be shared with everyone involved in the process.

Read more...
Siemens’ software for digital transformation of automotive design
September 2021, Siemens Digital Industries , IT in Manufacturing
Model-based development process and systems are used in Japan and globally to adapt to the biggest automotive transformation in 100 years.

Read more...
Is track and trace through the factory a waste of time?
September 2021, Iritron , IT in Manufacturing
Modern track and trace solutions are purpose-built to introduce as little disruption to the existing production process as possible, while also being flexible enough to cater for plants that range from fully manual to fully automated.

Read more...
Modularity for scalability
September 2021, RJ Connect , IT in Manufacturing
Businesses are looking for versatile solutions that are easy to maintain to ensure smooth operations while keeping costs down.

Read more...
Saryx launches TMP
September 2021, Saryx Engineering Group , IT in Manufacturing
The digital transformation that has swept the world in the past few years has fundamentally altered most people’s approach to technology, with an increasing number seeking the ability to manage their ...

Read more...
Secure boundaries enhance industrial cybersecurity
September 2021, RJ Connect , IT in Manufacturing
When enhancing cybersecurity, it is important to understand how industrial systems are exchanging data and how they connect to IT-level systems.

Read more...
Siemens drives digital transformation at virtual Smart Mining forum
September 2021, Siemens Digital Industries , IT in Manufacturing
With its motto: ‘On the road to the digital future’, Siemens hosted its virtual Smart Mining forum from 3-5 August.

Read more...
Deep-learning AI made accessible
September 2021, SICK Automation Southern Africa , IT in Manufacturing
SICK Automation has launched a set of deep-learning software and services called dStudio, making artificial intelligence (AI) more accessible to the southern African market. This software works with machine ...

Read more...
How safe are our factories? Part 1: Cybersecurity for operational technology.
August 2021, Wolfpack Information Risk , IT in Manufacturing
If companies are regularly being subjected to cyber hacks overseas, isn’t it only a matter of time before someone with enough motivation, skill and resources targets us?

Read more...