Monday, August 7, 2017

IEC 61850, Sensors, and Cyber Threats

Sensors all over will be more important in the future: First to automate processes and second to monitor the automation systems.
The other day I found a very serious report on compromising automation systems under the title:

ICS cyber threats are morphing into compromise of plant functionality – do we have the right tools? 

The report by Joe Weiss is worth to read.

Click HERE for reading the complete report.

The discussion is about compromising an actuator (Valve, ...)  and let the physics do the damage!

Joe resumes: "Without sensor monitoring, it is NOT possible to see the precursor to these kinds of conditions until it is too late."

I have discussed the reported issues with an expert of valves in industrial process control applications. He confirmed that the cavitation (bubble or Wasserblasen) effect is known for long. But there are only a relatively few applications of (vibration) sensors installed to measure the noise produced by cavitation (see video at Youtube) to figure out that something is going wrong.

IEC 61850 has a bunch of models and services to support sensors:

and event reporting:

The quality attributes that come with all values could be used to flag that the value is valid or not. Additionally the sensor may have a health problem (figured out by a diagnosis routine) that can be reported using the TTMP.EEHealth.stVal attribute (EE - external equipment).

All models and services have to rely on good hardware and software! Or we get: Garbage in - Garbage out!

In our seminars and hands-on training courses we discuss these and many other topics in detail.

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