Physical Cybersecurity for the Industrial Internet of Things

Abstract

The Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) enables real-time monitoring of energy and building equipment to enhance performance and reduce downtime. This connectivity has opened up a vast attack surface for hackers to exploit cybersecurity weaknesses. Adversaries like the Russians have infiltrated the US electric grid, while others have exploited legacy industrial equipment as a back door for corporate espionage and ransomware.

Traditional defenses, like firewalls and software-based security, are going to let some malicious code through before patches and updates are issued. Cybersecurity training, policies, and procedures rely on imperfect human behavior. If your security requires that workers follow every process, resist every phishing email, and always show up to work well-rested, you will be hacked.

Fortunately, one class of hardware provides completely secure equipment monitoring: data diodes. Data diodes use light to shine data in only one direction. Information about compressors, sensors, and other equipment can be “beamed” out to the cloud without any physical way for a remote hacker to get in. This technology has protected nuclear power plants for years. A new generation of low-cost, plug-and-play data diodes has entered the market and promises to bring powerful, distributed defenses against a growing cyber threat.

Presented By

Colin Dunn, C.E.M., P.E., PMP, LEED AP
Chief Executive Officer
Fend Incorporated

Colin Dunn, CEM, PE, PMP, LEED AP is the Founder and CEO of Fend Incorporated. Mr. Dunn brings nearly 15 years of experience with project management, mechanical system design, product development, and R&D program support. Mr. Dunn has served as Principal Investigator for R&D efforts and supported technology test bed programs for the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration. His roles have also included product owner for web-based tools and commercialization lead for corporate R&D teams. He earned his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia and MBA from Penn State University.