Protection of PLC and Automation Systems from Cyber Attacks

Century technologies continue to shape the future of the world in every sense. So much so that technology has reached the point that it can be used directly as a weapon. In fact, cyber wars, the foundations of which were fought during the Cold War period between 1947 and 1991, have started to talk about themselves with the increasing technology in recent years. Countries led by the USA, Russia, China, Israel and the UK do not neglect to use defense and attack teams, as well as to use in subcontractor hackers. Finally, the Stuxnet virus, which targets Iran’s nuclear power plants and is partially successful, is the first attack to occur with such a large scale and impact.

Stuxnet, a self-replicating software that attempts a very unique tactic, was the first cyber attack on a large scale. The software first seized PLC, the central logic controller that controls the motors and temperature. Thus, other software controlling the system could easily be eliminated one by one. As a result, this attack, which specifically targeted nuclear fuel enrichment facilities, caused the centrifuges to spin wildly and caused serious physical damage.

Protection of PLC and Automation Systems from Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks are becoming more common

Everything in Stuxnet did not go as desired by the team that created it. Starting with a USB memory card, this adventure was actually limited to three computers and a 21-day span. However, the software had such a powerful self-copying feature that it evolved over time and found new ways of propagation. So stuxnet did not stay with Iran. It was seen in a wide range from North America to Australia. Moreover, when looking at the source codes of Stuxnet, there is no such purpose. It is possible to say what we can do more is to use a logic.

The effects of more or less weapons can be calculated in classical warfare methods, but it is difficult to predict what your range will be in cyber wars. Stuxnet was effective not only with Iran thanks to its powerful copying ability, but also in a wide area from Australia to North America.

Protection of PLC and Automation Systems from Cyber Attacks

Industry 4.0 offers numerous opportunities in the industrialization process in the world. However, these opportunities also include threats, as we mentioned above. Today, thanks to the magnificent development that internet, software and semiconductor technologies have come;

  • The product has been able to communicate with the machines that produced it. (RFID technology)
  • Sensors, which are one of the most important parts of the machines, have evolved, become smart, and even a simple inductive sensor can be configured for application, by communicating with controllers (PLC / PAC), and it is possible to question many status information from ambient temperature. (IO-LINK technology)
  • Thanks to the communication technologies, the data generated during the production is displayed simultaneously on the screen of the employees who follow, it is transferred to the production database of the company and reported, and in case of a malfunction, it can interfere to the machine from the office of specialist maintenance engineers or from anywhere where there is an internet.
Protection of PLC and Automation Systems from Cyber Attacks

Industry 4.0 adds and will continue to add innovations to this and many other similar processes. However, information technologies bring some risks and threats with the advantages it brings. The biggest security threats for Industry 4.0 are:

  • Malware infection over the Internet and Intranet
  • Malware injection through removable media
  • Human error and sabotage
  • Remote maintenance access security
  • The worldwide annual cost for cybercrime is higher than $ 500 billion.
  • Governments around the world enact laws to protect the economy for cybercrime
  • Private industry sectors cyber security investments will become compulsory
  • Critical infrastructures for the European Union will be protected primarily from sinister attacks.

The following facilities will always be vulnerable to cyber attack.

  • Energy transmission, production and distribution
  • Water treatment and storage
  • Finance
  • Transportation / Traffic
  • IT and Telecommunications

PFC 100 and 200 Security Package

  • Long-term operating system Linux
  • The highest encryption standard TLS1.2
  • PLC direct> VPN tunnel – OpenVPN / IPSec Support
  • Firewall firewall
  • SSH, https, FTPS, SFTP supported
  • With modifications, PFC100 / PFC200 conforms to BDEW standards.

When the security issue of PFC 100 or PFC 200 is on the agenda, Firewall and VPN can be directly connected to the PLC. With this feature, you can protect against cyber attacks without using an additional router or module (the cost of these attachments is almost a PLC).

Protection of PLC and Automation Systems from Cyber Attacks

WAGO Ethernet based controllers have Web Base Managment pages (Web Based Management). Access to WBM configuration pages has encryption capability that allows access to two different levels: administrator and user for security purposes. In this way, only authorized persons can make important changes.

WAGO PLCs have two independent Ethernet ports, and these Ethernet ports support various communication protocols. (MODBUS TCP, Telnet, FTP etc.) These protocols can be limited in the WBM configuration menu. Thus, risks will be reduced by preventing unwanted access attempts from the Internet world.

Apart from these settings you can make through the Firewall menu in WBM, you also have the opportunity to filter the devices that can be connected to your controller by MAC address. In this way, only the Ethernet-based products you have defined will access your controller.


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1 Response

  1. July 2, 2020

    […] Not a Motor Protection […]

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