Instrumentation & Controls, O&M, Plant Optimization

ABB, Wärtsilä join global cyber security alliance

Two energy firms have joined forces with other global technology companies to combat cyber attacks against critical and industrial infrastructure.

ABB announced it is a member of the Operational Technology Cyber Security Alliance (OTCSA). The OTCSA, launched this week, also includes Wärtsilä, Check Point Software, BlackBerry Cylance, Forescout, Fortinet, Microsoft, Mocana, NCC Group, Qualys, SCADAFence and Splunk among its members.

“ABB understands the critical importance of cybersecurity in systems and solutions for infrastructure and industry,” said Satish Gannu, Chief Security Officer at Swiss-based ABB. “We are confident the OTCSA will deliver a framework for much-needed solutions, at a time when industrial customers live in a world of increasingly sophisticated threats, putting organizations at risk of potentially catastrophic losses.” 

The OTCSA mission is five-fold:

  • Strengthen cyber-physical risk posture of OT environments and interfaces for OT/IT interconnectivity
  • Guide OT operators on how to protect their OT infrastructure based on a risk management process and reference architectures/designs which are demonstrably compliant with regulations and international standards, such as IEC 62443, NERC CIP and NIST 800-53
  • Guide OT suppliers on secure OT system architectures, relevant interfaces and security functionalities
  • Support the procurement, development, installation, operation, maintenance and implementation of a safer, more secure critical infrastructure
  • Accelerate the time to adopt safer, more secure critical infrastructures

Cyber-attacks on critical and industrial infrastructure are on the rise, impacting operational reliability and business risk across all industries, including utilities, manufacturing and oil & gas. Threats to operational technology (OT) – the hardware and software dedicated to monitoring and controlling physical devices such as valves, pumps, etc. – can disrupt operations, negatively impact productivity, cause ecological damage and compromise human safety. To help mitigate this risk, a new global alliance focused on cyber security launched today. The Operational Technology Cyber Security Alliance (OTCSA) was established to help companies address the OT security challenges that continue to put operations, and consequently, business at risk.

 “One of the driving forces behind IT and OT convergence is cyber security of operational systems, like SCADA, MES, controllers, etc. OT has typically been managed as individual devices, which has made it very difficult for IT to maintain its cyber security mandate,” said Kevin Prouty, Group VP for IDC Energy Insights and Manufacturing Insights. “Senior executives are tasking operations executives to get their OT systems integrated into the overall enterprise cyber security governance. IDC’s IT/OT Convergence survey from 2018 shows that 65 percent of manufacturing, mining, oil & gas and utility companies see cyber security as the highest priority in IT and OT governance.”

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Cybersecurity dangers to power generation facilities will be one of the Digital Transformation of the Power Plant topics discussed in detail at POWERGEN International next month in New Orleans. Cyber threats also will be focused on in the Smart Power Plant Knowledge Hub on the POWERGEN exhibition floor.