Can open-source software prevent the next big blackout?

Friday, 5 September 2003, 10:55 AM EST

North America's power grid, creaking under loads it was never designed to handle, may be facing an even grimmer future thanks to security flaws in aging control systems that are increasingly interconnected with Microsoft-based enterprise systems. The situation is so bad, experts say, that bored script kiddies could soon be knocking out power stations as easily as they concoct viruses from toolkits available on the Web.

Brian Ahern, CEO of control system security firm Verano, says that three issues have created a security nightmare for the power grid: underinvestment in electric power distribution systems that include control software; the interconnection of power industry business systems with legacy control systems; and a trend among vendors to build control-system technology on insecure platforms such as Microsoft’s.

Underinvestment means that most utilities rely on aged systems that were never designed for the loads or security issues they face today. Legacy systems, for example, may have been designed to run on private, 10-megabit networks, and as such, lack even basic security features such as firewalls.

[ Read more ]




Spotlight

Whitepaper: 10 things your next firewall must do

For enterprises looking at Next-Generation Firewalls, the most important consideration is: will this new technology empower your security teams to securely enable applications to the benefit of the organization? It's not about blocking applications, but safely enabling them.


Weekly newsletter

Reading our newsletter every Monday will keep you up-to-date with security news.
  



Daily digest

Receive a daily digest of the latest security news.
  
DON'T
MISS

Fri, May 29th
    COPYRIGHT 1998-2015 BY HELP NET SECURITY.   // READ OUR PRIVACY POLICY // ABOUT US // ADVERTISE //