An Exercise to Increase IT/OT Engagement & Cooperation

Just a quick thought on an exercise to increase the cooperation, trust and engagement between traditional IT and OT (operational technology – (ICS/SCADA tech)) teams. Though it likely applies to just about any two technical teams, including IT and development, etc.

Here’s the idea: Host a Hack-a-thon!

It might look something like this:

  • Invest in some abundant kits of LittleBits. These are like Legos with electronics, mechanical circuits and even Arduino/Cloud controllers built in. Easy, safe, smart and fun!
  • Put all of the technical staff in a room together for a day. Physically together. Ban all cell phones, calls, emails, etc. for the day – get people to engage – cater in meals so they can eat together and develop rapport
  • Split the folks into two or more teams of equal size, mixing IT and OT team members (each team will need both skill sets – digital and mechanical knowledge) anyway.
  • Create a mission – over the next 8 hours, each team will compete to see who can use their smart bits set to design, program and proto-type a solution to a significant problem faced in their everyday work environments.
  • Provide a prize for 1st and 2nd place team. Reach deep – really motivate them!
  • Let the teams go through the process of discussing their challenges to find the right problem, then have them use draw out their proposed solution.
  • After lunch, have the teams discuss the problems they chose and their suggested fix.Then have them build it with the LittleBits. 
  • Right before the end of the day, have a judging and award the prizes.

Then, 30 days later, have a conference call with the group. Have them again discuss the challenges they face together, and see if common solutions emerge. If so, implement them.

Do this a couple times a year, maybe using something like Legos, Raspberry Pis, Arduinos or just whiteboards and markers. Let them have fun, vent their frustrations and actively engage with one another. The results will likely astound you.

How does your company further IT/OT engagement? Let us know on Twitter (@microsolved) or drop me a line personally (@lbhuston). Thanks for reading! 

ICS/SCADA Security Symposium 2014 Announced

For those of you who were wondering about our yearly event, the 4th annual ICS/SCADA Security Symposium has been announced!

The date will be Thursday, December 11, 2014 and the entire event will be virtual! Yes, that’s right, no travel & no scheduling people to cover the control room. YOU can learn from right there! 

To learn more about the event, the schedule and to register, click here!

Save The Date: 2014 ICS/SCADA Security Symposium Dec. 11

This year’s ICS/SCADA Security Symposium will be held on Thursday, December 11, 2014. This year’s event will be a little different, in that we are opening it up to any organizations who are asset owners or manufacturers of ICS/SCADA components. That includes utilities, manufacturing companies, pharma, etc. If you are interested in ICS security, you can sign up for the event.

This year’s event will also be virtual. It will be a series of Webinars held on the same day in 45 minute blocks, with time for follow-on questions. We will also hold a Twitter Q&A Hour from 1pm – 2pm Eastern, and we will attempt to make all speakers available for the Q&A!

In addition, we plan to stand up a supporting website for the event, and release a number of materials, including podcasts, interviews and other surprises the day of the event!

We will be tracking attendance in the webinars and providing notes of attestation for attendees for the purpose of CPE credits. We hope this new format will allow folks who wanted to attend in the past, but either couldn’t make the physical trip to Columbus or couldn’t leave their positions to attend training the ability to join us.

More details, including speakers and topics, as well as schedules, hashtags and other info will be released shortly. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you on 12/11/14!

Co-Op & Municipal Utilities Get Discounts in July

Attention Co-Op & Municipal utilities — MSI is offering discounts to your organizations on professional services (policy/process, assessments, pen-testing, etc.), lab services (device & AMR/AMI assessments, threat assessments, etc.) and HoneyPoint Security Server for the month of July. Book the business before July 31’st and have the work/implementation completed before December 31st of 2014 and you receive a discount up to 30% off!

Do you need pen-testing against your business network? Need web app assessments on billing or payment systems? Have a call for risk assessments, smart grid device testing or fraud testing against your meters and field gear? All of this and more qualifies!

Check out our ICS/SCADA specific services by clicking here!

Give Allan Bergen a call today at 513-300-0194 to learn more about our program. We truly appreciate the hard work and dedication that Co-op and Municipal utility teams do, and we look forward to working with you! 

Brent Huston to Lead ICS/SCADA Honeypot Webinar with SANS

Our Founder and CEO, Brent Huston (@lbhuston) will be leading a SANS webinar on ICS/SCADA honeypots. The webinar is scheduled for November, 25th, 2013 and you can find more information and register by visiting this page.

The webinar will cover when honeypots are and are not useful, basic deployment strategies and insights into using them for detection in field deployments and control environments. 

Check it out, tune in and give Brent a shout out on Twitter. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy the webinar.

Thanks for Making the 3rd Mid-West ICS/SCADA Security Symposium a Success

Thanks to the attendees and speakers who participated yesterday in the 3rd Annual ICS/SCADA Security Symposium. It was another great event and once again, the center of the value was in the interactions of the audience with the speakers and each other. It’s great to hear asset owners discuss what is working, what is challenging and what is critical in their minds.

Thanks again to those who attended and contributed to making this event such a wonderful thing again this year. We appreciate it and we can’t wait until next year to do it all again.

Thank YOU!

SANS ICS Summit & Training in Singapore

SANS Asia Pacific ICS Summit and Training 2013 – Singapore

If you have any responsibility for security of control systems – policy, engineering, governance or operations you won’t want to miss the Asia Pacific ICS Security Summit taking place 2-8 December 2013 where you will:

Learn all about the new Global ICS Professional Security Certification

Gain the most current information regarding Industrial Control System threats and learn how to best prepare to defend against them

Hear what works and what does not from peer organizations. 

Network with top individuals in the field of Industrial Control Systems security and return from the Summit with solutions you can immediately put to use in your organization. 

Listen to 15+ speakers from a variety of companies who will cover exceptional content throughout the two-day Summit.

Earn CPE credits for the summit and course you attend

 

ICS410: ICS Cyber Security Essentials, (Brand New course) – 4-8 December taught by SANS Faculty Fellow Dr. Eric Cole will provide a standardized foundational set of skills, knowledge and abilities for Industrial Cyber Security professionals. This course is designed to ensure that the workforce involved in supporting and defending Industrial Control Systems is trained to perform work in a manner that will keep the operational environment safe, secure and resilient against current and emerging cyber threats.

Agenda highlights for the summit include:

A Community Approach to Securing the Cyberspace to Enhance National Resilience

The Good, Bad and the Ugly: Certification of People, Processes and Devices 

SCADA Security Assessment Methodology: The Malaysia Experience  

The State of Critical Control System Security in Japan 

Smart Security : Strengthening Information Protection in Your ICS

 

To learn more about the Summit and Training, or register now and save 5% on your registration with code SANSICS_MSI5, please visit: http://www.sans.org/info/142537


Save The Date: Midwest ICS/SCADA Security Symposium 2013

Just a quick announcement that the 3rd annual Midwest ICS/SCADA Security Symposium date has been announced. We will be holding the event on November 14th, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio.

It is a single track, single day event which is highly focused on peer to peer interaction between asset owners, utilities, manufacturers and other interested parties. The attendees usually span the various types of ICS asset holders from water, power, natural gas, chemical, automated manufacturing and other critical infrastructures. The focus is on real world threats, changing regulatory guidance, what controls work and work less, scenarios and tactics that have helped improve security and overall changes in protection strategies in the last 12 months.

The conversations are often candid, to the point and the open forum leads to passionate and real world discussions.

All attendees are vetted to ensure confidentiality and maintain focus on real content minus vendor sales pitches. The cost to attend is FREE and coffee, snacks and lunch is provided.

To learn more about the event or to qualify for an invitation, please drop us a line via email (info A T microsolved D O T com) or via aTwitter (@lbhuston or @microsolved). If you have attended or qualified in the past for the event, your invitation will be forthcoming shortly.

Speaker selection is now underway, so watch this blog for the agenda in the near future. 

Fuzzing Optical Smart Meters with ProtoPredator

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Our team has been working hard in the lab, once again testing the optical implementations of a variety of smart meters. Using our proprietary in-house developed tool, called ProtoPredator for Smart Meters, we have been doing full fuzzing of optical protocol implementations. 

Our tool makes this process easy and reproducible. It also provides for easy regression testing and fix validation through session replays. 

One of the things that makes ProtoPredator so cool is that it includes both arbitrary conversations with the meters in addition to canned sessions, making much more flexible in the hands of a knowledgeable user. You can easily use this feature to perform more nuanced validation of the protocols, testing things like sequence errors, poor trust, error recovery, etc. 

While ProtoPredator is still tied to the optical coupler speed and the inherent speed of the protocols in use, testing with it makes validation of the optical ports more effective than other more traditional approaches. Additionally, you can use multiple seats of ProtoPredator in parallel to decrease the overall testing and validation time, especially since the “brain files” and packet sessions are easily interchangeable amongst installations.

The easy to use GUI also means less frustration and more time on task for most users. It lets the testers spend less time on mundane tasks like serial configuration and hand crafting packets and more time on security testing, protocol analysis and bug hunting.

To find out more about ProtoPredator, or to discuss having our lab give your smart meters a look over, get in touch. Info(at)micro solved(dot)com will get you a prompt response. As always, thanks for reading!