Homeland Security test bed

by Jessica Malley at 1/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
01 January 2005

Homeland Security test bed

Cyber security is war. David Sanders spent 20 years in the U.S. Army working with the infantry, armor, and tactical and strategic satellites.

He then spent time in information security and risk management in the private sector, and now he is back working for the government again as the Director of the Critical Infrastructure Protection and Cyber Security with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), National Cyber Security Division.

He spoke to several hundred control systems engineers at the Invensys North America Customer Conference in October describing five DHS initiatives:

1. Further and expand the existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) test bed to a complete control systems security test bed at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Lab (INEEL) facility.

2. Integrate the control system center (CSC) into the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).

3. Have the control systems center ascertain what activities are underway in the government and industry sectors and coordinate them to avoid duplication of effort. The CSC will also promote awareness of control system security in other countries.

4. Further control system security awareness, develop curriculum, establish training courses, and promote control system security certification.

5. Coordinate research and development with control system standards and training.

INEEL's SCADA test bed is a functioning model of full or near full-scale proportions that allows individuals to visualize, analyze, and test their control systems in a domain that is more realistic than computer simulation.

It consists of several facilities that together create a centralized location for industry, equipment manufacturers, and government agencies to work at finding tangible solutions to growing cyber threat.

The test bed houses control systems from leading national and international manufacturers. Here, SCADA and cyber experts systematically examine the components of a functioning system and look for inherent vulnerabilities.

Further testing and tool development allows customers to bring their Remote Terminal Units, Intelligent Electronic Devices, or Programmable Logic Controller devices to the test bed and connect them to INEEL's full-scale electrical power grid.

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Nicholas Sheble (nsheble@isa.org) edits the Networking & Communications department.