Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) Write-Up

When imagining SCADA, one can imagine a railroad system.  The stops are the different utilities that the program helps with, for example, stop one the streetlights, stop two the city water system, stop three being the electricity to the city.  SCADA is the main hub from which the trains leave from.  Finally, the operator uses the HMI to conduct the train, to get it where it needs to go.  Like real-life trains, not everything goes according to plan, and when this happens there needs to be a backup plan if the original plan gets derailed.

            One of the main vulnerabilities in SCADA is that it is an extremely complex system.  The human operator should be highly skilled in operations, programming, as well as analysis.  To find someone like this is not an easy task, and it is just as difficult to train a person to be highly skilled in two of those concentrations let alone three.  Finally, someone who is a specialist in three different concentrations may come with a hefty price tag.  This then leads to the question is it worth the cost. 

            Another vulnerability that can be found is in mobile applications.  This is because the applications can be used remotely and locally.  This means that there are more chances for attacks to occur.  According to research conducted by Bolshev and Yushkevich, after looking through 20 mobile applications, and found a total of 147 vulnerabilities.  When a situation like this occurs SCADA communication protocols can help to control the devices that are overseen by the system.  However, these protocols have minimal if any security to protect themselves from these attacks. 

            Since the creation of SCADA, there have been patches created and laid out to combat attacks.  These patches cans are found in the NIST’s Guide to Industrial Control Systems Security.  One of the patches is to properly maintain the authorization of user accounts.  This entails monitoring who has access to certain information regarding the SCADA.  The reason that this patch is important is that it helps to show the operators see if someone is accessing information that they should not have access to. Another patch that is important to prevent the use of outside USB connections.  Meaning that for a USB device to be allowed to connect to the SCADA database, it must have been processed and coded corrected.  This is because outside devices can bring malware into the system, which could lead to a cyber-attack.

            SCADA is used in businesses to communicate between human operators and the technical side of businesses.  Due to its essentialness, the SCADA system can become vulnerable to cyber-attacks.  To combat these attacks, NIST published steps and patches companies can use.  Two of these patches include monitoring who has access to specific information, and the SCADA database, as well as only allowing trusted USB devices to connect to the database.


One Flaw too Many: Vulnerabilities in SCADA Systems. (2019, December 16). Retrieved November 09, 2020, from

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