USS_Buffalo_SSN-715Listening to the cyber security drumbeat, I often hear mention of red and blue team exercises. As an ex-military guy, I like this because it reminds me of military scenarios like when our submarine was…  Oops, I cannot actually tell that story. Anyway, the red team attacks and the blue team defends.

I was wondering what role in a manufacturing facility would make up the blue team, when I realized that almost everywhere an industrial control system is installed lacks the personnel to form a blue team. Yes, there are exceptions like nuclear power plants. But, the company trying to compete in a commodity like toilet paper, cannot staff a blue team because it would make them less price competitive in the market. In a world of lean manufacturing and cost cutting to survive, there just are not any extra people or hours in the week to spend on a blue team defense and I am not going to panic over it. 

The problem of cyber security can be solved by designing the machine or process including the “what if” scenarios. That way, when the kid in a basement hacks into the control system and changes the set point, either a pressure relief value opens or an over-speed trip engages. Some production might be lost, but that is far better than the tank splitting at the seams or an expensive rotating axis destroying its bearings. 

[Picture is a work of a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.]