What is the SCADA Cybersecurity Framework?
SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. It is a control system architecture that comprises computer systems, networked data communications, and Graphical User Interface (GUI) for a high-level process supervisory management. In addition, SCADA also incorporates other peripheral devices such as discrete Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) to interface with process machinery or plant. One of the applications of SCADA also includes operations and management of the project-driven process in construction. SCADA systems also control most critical infrastructures such as transport systems and industrial networks.
Transmission from Traditional Proprietary Protocols to TCP/IP
SCADA based on IP-based systems and current trend involves TCP/IP, rather than the traditional proprietary protocols. Therefore, it involves all the threats and vulnerabilities that are associated with Internet Protocol (IP). Efforts are being made to combat threats and vulnerabilities to SCADA systems.
TCP/IP offers several benefits to SCADA, such as:
- Cost efficiency
Moreover, you would also have tremendous economic advantages if you are using an IP-based SCADA system. For example, migrating from a proprietary radio-based network to the IP-based network provides various advantages, including:
- Shared network resources across multiple applications,
- Shared network management system,
- Network enhancements such as added redundancy and capacity for all applications,
- Having to maintain only one skillset for onsite support staff.
SCADA systems are very intelligent, smart control systems. They acquire inputs from numerous sensors and respond to a system in real-time through actuators under program control. SCADA systems, in fact, can function as a supervisory or monitoring system or control system, or even their combination.
How the SCADA Security Framework is Constructed?
An effective SCADA security framework involves some essential characteristics that include:
- Evolving and comprehensive to meet dynamic cybersecurity threats and attacks
- Comply with availability requirements of the SCADA systems
- Scalable to comply with different regulations and standards
- Meets performance and risk management requirements specific to SCADA systems
SCADA Security Framework Controls
SCADA systems are suitable for dealing with organizations that have the critical infrastructure, where we can mention the extraction and transportation of oil and gas, as well as electricity and water supply, since the data represented there has gigantic impact power for the structure, for example, from a country.
In this sense, any system or subsystem that affects the state through electronic means, changes control parameters, presents, stores or transmits data can be included in the definition of SCADA. Here, the security concern for these systems should include treatment with unsafe networks and maintenance of equipment and management accesses. SCADA security framework controls involve various security controls that can deal with above-said issues. These are listed below:
1. Administrative Controls
- Organizational leadership and security organization
- Standards, policy, and exception
- Risk assessment Education and training
- Compliance framework
2. SCADA Controls
- Vulnerability management
- Physical security
- SCADA network security controls
- Identity and access management
- Asset management
3. Application and Data Security
- Data security
- Application security
- Malicious code prevention and detection
- Change management
4. System Assurance
- Secure configuration
- System resilience
- Business continuity and disaster recovery planning
5. Monitoring Controls
- Threat monitoring
- Incident Management
6. External Controls
- Partner security management
- Vendor security management
- SCADA controls
- Application and data security
- System assurance
- Third-party controls
- Monitoring controls
SCADA Security Policies
Policies are fundamental for building a sustainable security system. Without them, and good security administration, it becomes impossible to keep a system functioning properly, as it will be completely exposed to vulnerabilities that are existed on the network. But not only policies but also other specific security documents, such as security plans and implementation guidelines, can and should be created to define specific practices to be used within a SCADA environment.
An effective SCADA security policy should base on the following essential components:
- Purpose: why it exists
- Scope: the context that policy covers
- The rules: what can and cannot be done
- Responsibility: who can do what
- References: reference to other policies already in force
- Revision history: a history of changes, who made them and when
- Enforcement: description of the consequences of acts performed within the system
- Exceptions: if any, they must be reported in the security policy
For the development of these policies, there is a framework, called the SCADA policy framework.
Supervisory management systems whether they are operating under the government, oil and gas companies or any other. However, such systems must be protected and secured from all internal and external threats such as malware or viruses. SCADA cybersecurity framework provides complete guidelines and security controls in this regard.