By Laura Martin
Danger isn’t always obvious. Often the worst threats are the ones that go undetected— until they strike.
Identifying and managing hidden threats before they become a problem is a growing challenge for water utilities utilizing SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems. Some cyber threats trickle in slowly in pieces, assembling only seconds before they attack. Others are designed to strike when a specific vulnerability occurs and will wait for months or even years to do any damage.
“SCADA security threats are becoming much harder to detect,” said Doug Johnson, director of water automation solutions and business development at Emerson Process Management. “Fifteen years ago, cybersecurity breaches of SCADA systems were not that big of an issue because every SCADA manufacture used different technology. Now there is more similarity across the systems, more people are experts, and wireless technology and the Internet have given hackers the ability to connect with computers halfway around the world.”