It surprises us how often we see operators that are conditioned to wait for a display or historian data to update or fill in the stale or missing data. This is actually a common cyber security threat, where the ability of the operator is degraded either by supplanting what the operator can see or removing control from the operator.

While it is very likely not a hacker, the net result could be the same. We have seen many systems malfunction and fail because they could not communicate well to other critical systems.

The problems are caused by design mistakes and implementation mistakes that sometimes occur to the network over time. The problem could be caused by ground shield, a bad device on the network, communications streams that should be isolated from control, or just a misconfiguration. Regardless of the cause, the net result could cause the same problem to product or machines as a hacker.

Relying on network vendors to continually increase bandwidth is not the right way to solve the problem. Our knowledge of the traffic and problems it might be experiencing must keep up with the technology.

If you are experiencing network problems, consider contacting our team of industrial network and cyber security experts.