Nov 24, 2014 Industrial

Securing Critical Infrastructure…How Can Technology Help?

By Victor Abelairas

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On Thursday, the head of the National Security Agency told a Congressional panel that China and a few other countries (as well as criminal organizations acting on behalf of those nations) have the capacity to shut down the nation’s power grid and other critical infrastructure.  With a discernable rise in the number of vulnerabilities per year over the last decade, the NSA’s prediction of a catastrophic cyber-attack by 2025 in not only possible, but probable.

While cyber-security attacks are less graphic than traditional terrorism, the resulting damage is likely to be significantly more extensive. Analyst predictions for the number of connected devices over the next decade vary widely, but one thing is clear. This steep increase in the number of connected devices will only further amplify the situation, challenging the industry to address security at multiple layers.

How do we best prepare ourselves for and, more importantly, protect ourselves from these likely attacks? This is a hot topic that has been top of mind at a wide range of industry events I have participated in recently from a smart manufacturing panel at the California France Forum on Energy Efficiency Technologies to Group NIRE’s Energy Resources Management Consortium.

A comprehensive security solution is necessary to protect critical infrastructure and prevent loss of life. One common component, and likely target, within critical infrastructure is the industrial control system, which plays a critical role in power generation, water treatment, and oil refineries.

Wind River has long been committed to delivering trusted systems with built-in security capabilities. Wind River recently announced its Security Profile for VxWorks enhancing the VxWorks 7 Core Platform with a comprehensive set of software-based security features to effectively safeguard devices, data and intellectual property in the connected world of IoT. With features like secure boot, secure run-time loader, advanced user management, and encrypted containers, Security Profile helps to protect devices and data at every stage—from boot-up to operation to data transmission to shutdown.

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