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Contributing Writer

NitroSecurity And Stuxnet

Oct 05, 20102 mins
Cisco SystemsData and Information Security

Small product announcement couldn't be more timely

I spoke with SIEM vendor NitroSecurity yesterday to hear about what would normally be a low visibility announcement. NitroSecurity announced that it will support OSIsoft’s PI system, a data historian program for industrial control systems. With this integration, NitroSecurity’s SIEM platform (NitroView)can log, analyze, and correlate security events across IP and serial-connected industrial control devices. If this news came 6 months ago, I would have listened politely, hung up the phone, and then quickly forgotten everything I heard. Stuxnet changed all this. Stuxnet provides a real-world example of malware specifically intended to infect, propagate, and potentially disrupt a control network. Some analyst believe that this has already happened — Stuxnet may have caused damages leading to a delay in the launch of Iran’s nuclear power plant at Bushehr. Historically, industrial control systems like Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) reported their activity up to a database like OSIsoft which stored the data for basic business analysis. So what’s missing? Security smarts. There was no analysis or correlation going on to figure out whether control systems were behaving as they should or whether the data they provided was the least bit accurate. When a PLC says a closed pressure valve is actually open, it is a recipe for disaster. Integrating NitroView and OSIsoft adds security smarts to data collection. Remember Jack Lemmon tapping the gauge in the movie, “The China Syndrome,” and declaring, “hmm, that’s odd.” That’s what NitroSecurity does.Basically, NitroSecurity and OSIsoft are addressing a problem in real-time which is good news. The bad news is that I don’t believe that security regulations like NERC CIP apply to control networks (Note: I urge readers to send comments to support or refute this statement). Hopefully this gets rectified soon.The NitroSecurity/OSIsoft announcement also highlights that network security requirements can vary widely by industry and that some unique industry requirements may overlap with the U.S. critical infrastructure. Let’s hope Washington is taking notice here and that other security vendors follow NitroSecurity’s lead.

Contributing Writer

Jon Oltsik is a distinguished analyst, fellow, and the founder of the ESG’s cybersecurity service. With over 35 years of technology industry experience, Jon is widely recognized as an expert in all aspects of cybersecurity and is often called upon to help customers understand a CISO's perspective and strategies. Jon focuses on areas such as cyber-risk management, security operations, and all things related to CISOs.

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