16 May 2017
Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) reckons it’s come up with a new security solution for industrial sites using USB devices.
According to BSI publications, malware spread through USB devices was the second biggest threat to industrial control systems in 2016, and uncontrolled USBs have taken power plants offline, downed turbine control workstations, and caused raw sewage floods, among other industrial accidents.
“Industrial operators often have hundreds or thousands of employees and dozens of contractors on site every day,” says Eric Knapp, cyber security chief engineer, HPS.
“Many of them rely on USB-removable media to get their jobs done. Plants need solutions that let people work efficiently but don’t compromise cyber security and, with it, industrial safety.”
Honeywell says its new Secure Media Exchange (SMX) protects facilities against current and emerging USB-borne threats without the need for complex procedures or restrictions that impact operations or industrial personnel.
Upon arrival at the site, contractors ‘check-in’ their USB drive by plugging it into an SMX Intelligence Gateway. HPS says this ruggedised industrial device analyses files using a variety of techniques included with its Advanced Threat Intelligence Exchange, a secure, hybrid-cloud threat analysis service. The company claims ATIX provides continually updated threat information and sophisticated analytics to help detect advanced, targeted and zero-day malware.
Once the user’s device is cleared, it can be safely used in the facility. HPS adds that SMX client software installed on Windows devices at the site provides another layer of protection. This controls which USB devices are allowed to connect, preventing unverified removable media drives from being mounted, and stopping unverified files from being accessed. It alsoprovides auditing by logging USB device connectivity and file access.
Honeywell says SMX was developed by its cyber security experts based on field experience across global industrial sites and feedback from customers. The company reckons it has one of the largest industrial cyber security research capabilities in the process industry, including an advanced cyber security lab near Atlanta in the US.