Monday, February 15, 2021

IEC 61850 To Help Securing Process Automation Systems

A Hacker Tried to Poison a Florida City's Water Supply ... the attacker upped sodium hydroxide levels in the Oldsmar, Florida, water supply to extremely dangerous levels ... Within seconds, the intruder was attempting to change the water supply's levels of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye or caustic soda, moving the setting from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million

Click HERE for a news report.

How could that happen? Who knows!

There are a lot of discussions complaining about missing security measures like VPN, etc.

Independent of the communication security it is a big mistake that the value could be set to such a BIG number: 11,100 ppm.

IEC 61850 could help to prevent such a situation by applying Analogue Setting model:














At the City of Oldsmar water treatment facility, the "maxVal" of Sodium Hydroxide injection may have been limited to 500 ppm ... as a consequence, there would be no way to configure this to 11,000 ppm.

And: in case somebody changed the value at all, the setMag would change and dchg would become true issuing a report or log entry ...

With the SCL (System Configuration Language, IEC 61850) it could also be configured (in SCL notation) that a particular configuration value could not be changed at all (Fix), changed by a service (Dyn), or changed by SCL only (Conf).

For Input signals there are many specific configuration attributes defined ... 

It is very difficult to convince programmers, managers, R&D people, any other group ... to apply the IEC 61850 Tool.

Hope that will slowly change ... 

Additional discussion by Jake Brodsky click HERE ... summarizing: "... The more self integrity features we include, the more reasonable process limits that we include, the safer we will be."


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Looking for an Open Source Multi Protocol Gateway for IEC 104, TASE.2/ICCP, IEC 61850, OPC-UA ...?

The standards IEC 60870-5-104, IEC 60870-6 (TASE.2, ICCP), IEC 61850, OPC-UA and other (often legacy solutions) are crucial for the power delivery systems all over!

Therefore the ability to translate from one protocol to another is a key feature for every TSO (Transmission System Operator). As the needs are growing and the number of use cases are flourishing (e.g. RTE needs thousands of instances of MPG (Multi Protocol Gateways), they are incented to look for a highly cost effective solution. On this observation, Swissgrid and RTE decided to take over that challenge by initiating a Proof of Concept on an open source basis - according to a news published at LinkedIn the other day.

Title: "First step toward an Open Source multiprotocol Gateway initiated by Swissgrid and RTE"

Click HERE for more information posted at LinkedIn.

Sebastien HENRY (Directeur SI & Télécommunications chez RTE Réseau de Transport d'Electricité) said: "RTE is committed to invest in open source for the development of an ecosystem of IT solutions for the energy sector. I am very confident in the fact that with the multiprotocol gateway, a small piece of software widely needed in our infrastructures, will demonstrate this strategy worth being followed."

UPDATE 2021-01-23: EXTREMELY Crucial Frequency Deviation Of The European Electrical Interconnected Grid (UCTE)

 Dear All,

You may have heard that on January 08, 2021 Europe was hit by very serious power problems that entered almost to a very big blackout.

Message time : 08.01.2021 14:05:12 MEZ
Message : UCTE low frequency
Mains frequency : 49,746 Hz
Mains load difference : -3741,4 MW

There are many publications on the Internet ... please search for UCTE blackout January 2021 ...
Click HERE for the official news.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

UPDATE 2020-12-10: Crucial Frequency Deviation Of The European Electrical Interconnected Grid (UCTE)

Dear All,

Due to the increasing number of frequency events I have decided to recommend you the following ... it is too much work for me to post the newest events ... sorry for that:

1. Register to receive the event reports directly from one reliable source 

A look at the following private website (offered by an experienced senior electrical engineer) provides very informative and easy to use information (right part on the figure):

www.pc-projekte.de (the content can easily be translated - with Google)

You may register to receive messages like the one above:

https://pc-projekte.lima-city.de/ucte-netzfrequenz-infodienst.html

Note that these messages carry just privately generated information about specific events of the frequency of the ENTSO-E Network in Continental Europe (former UCTE).

2. Check the following website:
There you can find a list of frequency events ... 135 in 2020 already !!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

IEC Offers New Web Site for IEC 61850

IEC offers a new website to provide general information about the standard series IEC 61850, IEC 62351, IEC 61400-25, and other standards.

Click HERE to visit the new web site.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

UPDATE 2020-11-10: Crucial Frequency Deviation Of The European Electrical Interconnected Grid (UCTE)

 Please find another frequency deviation detected on 2020-11-10

Message time : 10.11.2020 06:00:52 MEZ
Message : UCTE high frequency
Mains frequency : 50,135 Hz
Mains load difference : 1916,6 MW

Monday, November 9, 2020

Hybrid Warfare Against Critical Energy Infrastructure: The Case Of Ukraine

A new 175 pages report
"Hybrid warfare against Critical Energy Infrastructure: The Case of Ukraine"
has just been published.

This study identifies and analyses the success of different hybrid warfare tools used by Russia in the Ukrainian energy sector between 2014 and 2017, namely different types of malicious acts against critical energy infrastructure, the implication of these events for Ukraine and the lessons to be learned for NATO security.

Click HERE for the full report [pdf, 6 MB]

Thursday, November 5, 2020

UPDATE late 2020-11-05: Crucial Frequency Deviation Of The European Electrical Interconnected Grid (UCTE)

 Please find another frequency deviation detected on late 2020-11-05

Message time : 05.11.2020 20:01:28 MEZ
Message : UCTE low frequency
Mains frequency : 49,889 Hz
Mains load difference : -1548,7 MW

UPDATE 2020-11-05: Crucial Frequency Deviation Of The European Electrical Interconnected Grid (UCTE)

Please find another frequency deviation detected on 2020-11-05

Message time : 05.11.2020 06:01:36 MEZ
Message : UCTE high frequency
Mains frequency : 50,122 Hz
Mains load difference : 1717,4 MW

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

UPDATE 2020-11-03: Crucial Frequency Deviation Of The European Electrical Interconnected Grid (UCTE)

 Please find another frequency deviation detected on 2020-11-02.

Message time : 02.11.2020 21:01:14 MEZ
Message : UCTE low frequency
Mains frequency : 49,896 Hz
Mains load difference : -1441,3 MW

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Ukrainian Power Grids Cyberattack - A Forensic Analysis Based On ISA/IEC 62443

Three Ukrainian power distribution companies sustained a cyberattack in western Ukraine on 23 December 2015. As the forensic information is extensive from a technical point of view, it is an opportunity to put 

ISA/IEC 62443-3-3
In­dus­tri­al com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on net­works - Net­work and sys­tem se­cu­ri­ty
- Part 3-3: Sys­tem se­cu­ri­ty re­qui­re­ments and se­cu­ri­ty le­vels

to the test with a real-life example. Several sources were used for this purpose that, overall, provide unusually detailed information.

Click HERE for the report "Ukrainian Power Grids Cyberattack - A Forensic Analysis Based On ISA/IEC 62443" ... worth to read!

Click HERE for a white paper on the series IEC 62443

Click HERE for a preview of the standard:




Tuesday, October 27, 2020

IEC 61499 Function Blocks At Schneider Electric Automation Solution

 In a white paper published by Schneider Electric you can read:

"The IEC 61499 standard sets a foundation for industrial automation application portability that creates wide-ranging benefits, including easy IT/OT system convergence, improved return-on-investment on software applications that can run independent of any hardware platform, and engineering design efficiency that radically speeds up new product time-to-market. ... Plug and Produce Systems: The move to automation systems based on IEC 61499 is more than a simple technology change. It has the potential to fundamentally change the way processes and machines are designed."

Click HERE for a new white paper on IEC 61499 from Schneider Electric.

Click HERE for a list of posts related to IEC 61499 ... and IEC 61850.

Ethernet Comes with a Brand New Easy Solution: Single Pair Ethernet (SPE)

Ethernet is well known globally as solution for communication. Ethernet was hated and liked for the last 40 years or so ... there have been alternative solutions developed that were marketed as much easier, faster, deterministic, ... think of Tokenbus (IEEE 804), Profibus, ... and many others.

Now we see a new version: Single Pair Ethernet (SPE). SPE can bring fast Ethernet (up to 1 GBit/s) and power to the field level using just one twisted wire pair ... enabling application of protocols using TCP/IP.

Click HERE for a general description.

Click HERE for a nice presentation by IEEE experts (January 2019)

SPE is a new technology to replace CANbus in automobiles (cars, trucks, busses, ... trains) and fieldbusses. SPE is a layer 1 standard ... so it can be used for Profinet, Ethercat, ... and it could run TCP/IP.

SPE is more intended to replace fieldbus systems ... here my dream of the late 80s becomes true:

Fieldbus Standardization - Another Way to Go

http://blog.nettedautomation.com/2017/05/tsn-fieldbus-standardization-another.html

additional posts related to the topic:

http://blog.nettedautomation.com/search?q=another+way

The use of SPE for connecting sensors to the cloud is to follow a trend ... it may increase the sales of component manufacturers.

When I wrote my Diploma Thesis in 1982 (at Siemens) I was asked to analyze Ethernet ... the idea was cancelled because of the very very expensive MAU ... needed two ... each for 23,000 USD ... total of 46,000 USD ... no way to get approval to spend that amount for a "standard" Diploma Thesis ... 

It took some 40 years to get to SPE - likely the real Ethernet ... ;-)

Too late for me ... just retired this year with 67 ... 

One crucial challenge is here: HOW to SECURE a huge number of end nodes (sensors, actuators ...) directly connected to the clouds or data lakes? Compare the situation with Smart(er) Grids: In Smart(er) Grids it is intended to connect millions of smart meters to the entities (clouds!?) that use the data for billing and further applications like controlling millions of inverters or power users. 

In the German power system there is a requirement to use the so-called Smart Meter Gateway (SMG) to provide highly secure communication channels

Click HERE to check what has to be implemented ... many published Megabyte pdf documentation of the required specification like: "Protection Profile for the Gateway of a Smart Metering System (Smart-Meter-Gateway PP)" ... by the German BSI.

It took many years before we have seen the first certified Smart Meter Gateway offered at the market. And be aware: The Administration of this infrastructure is very complex and ... far away from cheap and affordable by "everyone".

Many similar huge "security systems" would be required to connect the billions of smart sensors and actuators through Single Pair Ethernet to some centralized entities ... 

SPE is nice - BUT to build secure distributed systems it is required to develop also new security solutions that are as simple as Single Pair Ethernet!!

We have to look at the complete SYSTEM COST - not just at the possibilities of a new physical layers ... the SPE increases the problems of implementing secure systems, because it is easier and cheap to build a huge mashed network of millions of end nodes ... that may not perfectly secured!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Crucial Frequency Deviation Of The European Electrical Interconnected Grid (UCTE)

The frequency of the European Interconnected Electrical Grid (UCTE) is under stress. The frequency should be 50 Hz ... as you know. Click HERE for an UCTE background paper. Click HERE for details and basics of the Nordic Grid.

The network frequency is uniform in a power supply network and, apart from minor deviations from the nominal value, constant over time. The frequency changed today and earlier more than what usually is expected.

Here is some information about todays situation at 11:00 a.m.:













Time : 21.10.2020 11:02:35 MESZ
Message : UCTE low frequency
Mains frequency : 49,886 Hz
Mains load difference : -1594,6 MW

UPDATE 2020-11-03
Message time : 02.11.2020 21:01:14 MEZ
Message : UCTE low frequency
Mains frequency : 49,896 Hz
Mains load difference : -1441,3 MW




UPDATE 2020-11-05
Message time : 05.11.2020 06:01:36 MEZ
Message : UCTE high frequency
Mains frequency : 50,122 Hz
Mains load difference : 1717,4 MW



UPDATE 2020-11-05/2

Message time : 05.11.2020 20:01:28 MEZ
Message : UCTE low frequency
Mains frequency : 49,889 Hz
Mains load difference : -1548,7 MW



UPDATE 2020-11-10

Message time : 10.11.2020 06:00:52 MEZ
Message : UCTE high frequency
Mains frequency : 50,135 Hz
Mains load difference : 1916,6 MW




-------------------------------------------------
A look at the following private website (offered by an experienced senior electrical engineer) provides very informative and easy to use information (right part on the figure):

www.pc-projekte.de (the content can easily be translated - with Google)

You may register to receive messages like the one above:

https://pc-projekte.lima-city.de/ucte-netzfrequenz-infodienst.html

Note that these messages carry just privately generated information about specific events of the frequency of the ENTSO-E Network in Continental Europe (former UCTE).

The diagram on the left part is derived from:

https://gridradar.net/netzfrequenz.html

Hope you will find this post informative.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Boeing's 737 MAX - A True But Unbelievable Story Told In A New Report

The final 245 page committee report (September 2020) on the problems with the Boeing 737 MAX tells stories that we (as engineers) could not believe! Or?

There are are many very crucial details that have been reported. You have to read the report on your own ...

Click HERE for the report.

Here are two excerpts that made me very sad:

"The story of the Boeing 737 MAX was never expected to be associated with catastrophe. It was supposed to be a story of American ingenuity and technological success—a modern, more fuelefficient airplane that had already become the manufacturing giant’s best-selling jet in its storied history prior to the first MAX crash ..." ... Obviously it was too easy to cheat ... in order to make more sales ... to earn more money, to get richer ... to ... what ever.

"... FAA delegated some certification activities to Boeing that it should have retained. In the case of the 737 MAX, in 2013, the FAA originally delegated 28 of 87 tasks to Boeing. However, this number rose to 79 of 91 activities by November 2016, four months prior to final certification of the 737 MAX aircraft."

Be aware that is very common in the industry to allow self-certification ... so, the results may be similar as with the 737 MAX ... non-conformity of a protection relay may lead to severe blackouts and ...  

One obvious reason for these behavior of humans these days could be found in 

"And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be judged who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
Bible 2. Thessalonians 2:11-12 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

IEC TC 57 Just Published Additional Code Components for IEC 61850

IEC TC 57 has published five additional code components document as listed in the figure:

These documents are very helpful ... they provide the main parts of the corresponding information models.

Click HERE to see the full list of the 18 published code components.

Friday, August 7, 2020

IEC 61850 Global 2020 - Virtual Conference - 26-30 October 2020

IEC 61850 is one of the most crucial standard series for automation - in power systems and beyond. There are still just a few experts that really understand what it is all about.

If you want to learn a bit more, you may attend the VIRTUAL Conference 26-30 October 2020 ... You don't need to travel ... don't need to stay at a hotel ... stay at home with your family ...

Get a discount by registering before 28 August 2020.

Click HERE for the details.


Friday, July 31, 2020

Ten Years After Stuxnet Went Public - And Now?

One of the senior experts in cyber security wrote today:

"Recently many of us noted the 10th Anniversary of when Stuxnet went public. Some commentators think it was for cyberspace a “Hiroshima” type of event. Some have been saying that there have been no other events like it since and this puzzled me. So I wrote my thoughts down to share."

http://scadamag.infracritical.com/index.php/2020/07/31/perhaps-we-are-missing-a-lesson-from-stuxnet/

Another senior expert is wondering why there is little information disclosed and lack of guidance about control system cyber security incidents that can affect multiple facilities in multiple industries:

https://www.controlglobal.com/blogs/unfettered/information-sharing-on-control-system-cyber-incidents-is-not-working-and-that-can-be-deadly

Both are worth to read!