ENERGY AND UTILITIES
Attacks targeted on industrial systems are the biggest threats to critical infrastructure, mainly in the energy and utilities sector. This sector comprises water utilities, oil and gas distribution networks, and electric power transmission, and is largely dependent on the IT and telecommunications infrastructure for improving the efficiency and reliability of the utilities. The types of utilities listed in this segment are oil and gas pipelines network, electric power transmission, water treatment and distribution, and wastewater collection and treatment.
OIL AND GAS
ICS, such as SCADA and DCS, is used in oil and gas industries to monitor, manage, storage, process, and control the information generated by thousands of sensors and assets that are placed in the oil and gas plants. Sharing real-time data/information between the management and the production site has made the pipeline control systems accessible via public networks. Most of the ICS and SCADA systems deployed today have the equipment connected to Ethernet. These pipeline control systems are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, which they are never capable of handling. With increase in the number of cyber threats, such as Stuxnet, the oil and gas companies, automation solution providers, and even the governments have been forced to develop and implement network security solutions. Companies such as ABB, Honeywell, and Siemens offer security solutions to secure oil and gas.
ELECTRIC POWER TRANSMISSION
The electric grid is one of the most targeted critical infrastructures in terms of cyber-attacks. The ICS and SCADA control systems help operators provide effective flow control by analyzing the network reliability, network configuration, load flow, anticipated total load, and emergency. With the introduction of new renewable energy power sources in the grid, the importance of monitoring the power transmission systems is at an all-time high. Industrial systems supervise, control, optimize, and manage the flow in the transmission systems.
WATER TREATMENT AND DISTRIBUTION
The total water consumption by industries is about 20%, whereas 70% is used by agriculture and 10% for domestic use. Therefore, water is one of the most essential parts of a critical infrastructure. In 2005, the Taum Sauk Water Storage Dam (Missouri, US) faced a catastrophic failure by releasing a billion gallons of water. Similarly, the seizure of water treatment facilities’ (Queensland sewage treatment plant) SCADA system in Australia resulted in the dumping of millions of gallons of water into sewage for 3 months. Water treatment plants today use VPNs and diverse firewalls to secure their industrial control networks and their extensive network infrastructure. Companies such as Emerson, Shrader Engineering, SCADAware, and Transdyn offer SCADA solutions for water utilities.
WASTEWATER COLLECTION AND TREATMENT
Industrial systems were introduced to the wastewater industry in the 1980s. Wastewater collection and treatment plants collect sewage water and make it environmentally safe by using specific equipment and chemicals. Many municipal wastewater systems are usually controlled and monitored by industrial systems, mainly the PLC and SCADA control systems, and operator terminals. The use of SCADA systems provides operators the necessary control to perform highly automated processes. It also enables the operator to perform the monitoring and data collection activities in a single unit. Companies such as Emerson, Revere Control Systems, Shrader Engineering, SCADAware, and Transdyn offer SCADA solutions for public utilities.