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Government Security The Internet Science

Feds Offer $20M For Critical Open Source Energy Network Cybersecurity Tools 56

coondoggie writes "The US Department of Energy today said it would spend $20 million on the development of advanced cybersecurity tools to help protect the nation's vulnerable energy supply. The DOE technologies developed under this program should be interoperable, scalable, cost-effective advanced tools that do not impede critical energy delivery functions, that are innovative and can easily be commercialized or made available through open source for no cost."
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Feds Offer $20M For Critical Open Source Energy Network Cybersecurity Tools

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  • wire cutters (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 11, 2013 @06:21PM (#42865903)

    easy - a pair of wire cutters and firing of those responsible for hooking up naively coded devices to untrusted networks.

  • by Art Challenor ( 2621733 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @06:54PM (#42866281)
    Comments of the type "just don't connect to the Internet" are a little short-sighted. Much of the energy, water, wastewater, etc. etc. infrastructure is remote. Think substations, liftstations, pumpstations, smart switches, etc. etc. For some of these a dedicated network may make sense, but there's a huge cost saving in using the existing networking buildout, ie the Internet, to monitor and indeed control these types of facilities. Many of these are small, a controller, something that does something (pump, switch, whatever) and a small amount of monitoring.

    Securing this IS a challenge, espeically since the vast majority of the equipment used in these facility was (and continues to be) designed with no inherent security, but having someone drive to a remote facility to check it, or install an end-to-end custom network is a much bigger project and is simply not possible - taxpayer would (rightly) object to the cost.

    There are many other situation where there is a solid "business case" for having an asset connected to the Internet, remote maintenance, tracking, etc. Not necessarily as critical, but would still benefit from a secure solution.
  • Two Words: Air Gap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rsagris ( 831741 ) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:07PM (#42867313)

    Seriously: water, power, and other critical utility infrastructure providers are not a low density/low volume market. There are large enough economies of scale such that there should really be no discussion here. There should be a separate physical network for these industries.

    Air gap the network, heck, develop and mandate totally new hardware interconnects to ensure some moronic PHM or more likely brain dead network admin isn't physically capable of connecting COTS hardware to SCADA hardware.

    There is absolutely no reason for any of this stuff to be directly accessible to the public internet, the utility provider can very well have some data diode [] to provide metering information on the public internet side, but there absolutely should be no bidirectional links between the command and control network and the public internet

    There would be no astronomically expensive software validation necessary if these industries were mandated to require Hardware level compartmentalization, which funnily enough a custom hardware solution would be orders of magnitude cheaper and deployable now rather than some pie in the sky (never going to happen) software based solution that the "Tube" worshiping ludites in Washington think can actually be created


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