Introduction to SCADA security


Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA, is a system used in many industries, including in the nation’s critical infrastructure, to help with maintaining efficiency, data processing and communicating issues for faster resolution. Part of this functionality is undoubtedly due to the injection of proverbial IT DNA into traditional processing systems. 

Despite this, SCADA security is markedly different from IT security. This article will provide a high-level introduction to SCADA security and will explore the different types of ICS, ICS components, BPCS and SIS, and industrial control systems (or ICS) strengths and weaknesses from a security perspective.

Types of ICS

There are four main types of ICS:

  • PLC
  • DCS
  • IACS


Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, or SCADA, is an ICS with data-gathering and processing functionality that can apply appropriate operational controls that span long distances. SCADA was developed to handle the various challenges that can be faced when different information media is used, including phone lines, satellites and microwave transmissions. 

SCADA systems are normally used in critical infrastructure, power distribution and transmission, and pipeline systems environments. This type of ICS is shared rather than dedicated. 

SCADA systems come with some solid benefits, including:

  • SCADA can efficiently process information at both local and remote locations
  • Gathering, processing and monitoring data in real-time
  • Features human-machine interface that allows for direct interaction with sensors, valves, pumps and other components
  • Records information in a useable log file


Programmable Logic Controllers, or PLCs, are solid-state ICSes with programmable memory for storage of instructions that monitors inputs and makes decisions based on its internal program or logic for automation. 

Some systems are PLC-based, where multiple PLCs are networked together in order to share information. Arranging a system in this way allows for control capability and centralized monitoring. 

(Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Infosec Resources authored by Greg Belding. Read the original post at: