Power and Energy

 

Wind power is a renewable source of energy and China has been actively expanding its wind installations over the past decade. Presently, China is the leader in wind power capacity, making up over 26% of the world total. Wind farms can consist of several hundred wind turbines in remote, harsh environments. Researchers believe that, with China’s land mass and long coastline providing the necessary wind resources, all of its electricity can come from wind power by 2030.

It’s not too difficult for a substation automation company, based in Hebei, China, to find industrial computer manufacturers. The challenging task was finding a partner who was capable of providing low-cost customized solutions to meet their needs.

The central concept behind the initiatives of “Industrial IoT”, “Industrial Automation”, and “Industry 4.0” shares a similar characteristic – establishing OT and IT convergence by interconnecting all the sensor, devices and equipment through mainstream communication protocols such as Industrial Ethernet and Internet protocol. However, the convergence has made OT networks vulnerable towards cyber threats, as security loopholes are exposed and intruders may attack directly through IT networks. Therefore, in order to ensure uptimes forIT/OT converged production system in the smart factory, it is critical to conduct comprehensive forensic analysis regarding ICS network vulnerability and perform early detection of abnormal events or unauthorized access that could lead to system downtimes and the derived expensive costs.

Since the trend of IoT (Internet of Things), energy sectors all over the world have been frequently the main targets for deliberate malware as consequences of planned attacks can highly devastate reliability, serviceability and public trust. One of the recent incidents was the power cut during Christmas season in Ukraine, 2015, followed by a series of cyber attacks to local energy companies. Large parts of the state were under power black-out. This incident revealed that ICS systems today are practically vulnerable to deliberate attacks.

A report released by U.S. Energy Department suggested that the number of cyber attack incidents already reached the “red-alert” level, which also indicates how vulnerable the security is for today’s critical infrastructures. In fact, besides the common targets for hackers such as power plants and manufacturing sites, there was a reported incident in 2016 that a water company in U.S.A experienced data breach.

Nowadays, utility productions, such as oilfield, petroleum refinery, and offshore gas drilling, have become more and more digitalized and connected. Devices deployed such as PLCs, HMIs, SCADA, sensors and embedded computing systems are inter-connected operational technologies (OT) in order to optimize automation and productions. Though digitalization and interconnections of OT devices have increased productivity and outputs for the oil and gas industry, the door is opened to cyber attacks at the same time. As a matter of fact, the numbers of cyber attacks to utility production industries have been rising continuously. According to researches, over 60% utility companies have encountered at least one attack in past years and petroleum industry is listed as one of the most targeted industries for cyber attacks

The manufacturing sector has undergone a rapid evolution since the introduction of advanced, intelligent and connected industrial control systems and factory automations, due to the challenges from globalized competition, frequent changes in raw material costs and newly emerging market demands. Today, it is common to see that major manufacturing plants have adopted a great number of IT and OT technologies, which not only optimize their productiveness, but also enable them with 24/7 real-time visibility and management of their manufacturing environments. In general, this is the generation often referred as Industrial 4.0.

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