TechHub: Ransomware Wreaking Global Havoc, Real-Time Asset Condition & Water Innovations

The Industrial Ransomware Wreaking Global Havoc

The recent global crisis of ransomware attacks on infrastructures and private businesses have left cyber experts and government authorities scrambling to double their efforts.

Computer systems were infected worldwide in June 2017 with a massive cyber attack similar to a recent assault that affected tens of thousands of machines internationally, causing critical infrastructures to take a major hit.

After recovering from a string of attacks that left thousands without power six months ago in December 2016, the citizens of Ukraine were faced with an even worse offense.

A.T.M.s stopped working, workers were forced to manually monitor radiation at the old, toxic Chernobyl nuclear plant due to computer failures and industrial employees worldwide were scrambling to respond to massive hacks.

“At the Chernobyl plant, the computers affected by the attack collected data on radiation levels and were not connected to industrial systems at the site, where, although all reactors have been decommissioned, huge volumes of radioactive waste remain. Operators said radiation monitoring was being done manually,” according to the New York Times.

The entirely new ransomware infected the systems of Ukraine’s power companies, metro services, airports and government ministries such as Kiev’s central post office.

The outbreak was the latest and most sophisticated in a series of attacks, using dozens of hacking tools, according to the NY Times.

The malware also had an impact internationally, causing system shutdowns of:

  • Danish shipping and transport company Moller-Maersk, resulting in an inability to process orders and its 76 terminals around the world became very congested.
  • Russian steel and oil firms Evraz and Rosneft.
  • French construction materials company Saint-Gobain.
  • Pharmaceuticals company Merck.
  • An Australian factory for chocolate giant Cadbury, resulting in halted production.
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Special Agent Keith Mularski, Unit Chief of the FBI Cyber Initiative & Resource Fusion Unit.

To continue the discussion on cyber espionage and industrial cyber security, join us at Transform 2017, our annual conference in Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

Special Agent Keith Mularski, Unit Chief of the FBI Cyber Initiative & Resource Fusion Unit heads the Cyber Initiative for the FBI and was part of an effort to declassify cyber threats and pass them on to industry.

Keith will walk through case studies of cyber incidents at US Steel, Alcoa and Westinghouse, revealing how the government communicated and worked together with industry to fight cyber crime.

Learn More About Transform 2017

Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut: Learn the True, Real-Time Condition of an Asset

Cars have data and analytics for when parts should be replaced, so why can’t your utility?

It can.

Like owning a car, the idea is similar for asset management. In a water treatment plant, pumps often come with a “best-by” sticker; a generic six-month date is stamped onto it, creating a time-based system for maintenance, regardless of usage.

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The date becomes the driving factor for servicing rather than following data.

But there is a better way to capture condition of assets consistently, accurately and efficiently.

The solution lies in combining two systems already in place and leveraging the findings to save time and money, drastically increasing uptime.

Download the white paper to learn how to leverage digital data to effectively and accurately forecast maintenance of assets.

Download the White Paper

Water Innovation Pact Signed to Promote Smart Water Networks

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and Smart Water Networks Forum (SWAN) recently formed a pact to jointly promote the development of best industry practices for sustainable smart water networks.

Smart water networks detect system leaks and manage energy through incorporating technology, according to Water Technology, an online water news publication.

“Supporting innovation is essential to the water sector, and to further development of intelligent water systems,” WEF executive director Eileen O’Neill said.

In the wake of technological advancements in the water sector, the combination of the groups’ focus on smart wastewater network management and integrated intelligent water practices will provide new skill sets and knowledge, allowing for workforce advancement.

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Co-innovated smart drinking fountain by GrayMatter & DC Water.

The partnership seeks to determine common barriers of implementing intelligent water practices, technology trends and new solutions.

GrayMatter and DC Water have recently had success through a partnership of their own by co-innovating a smart sensor drinking fountain.

A drinking fountain that monitors water quality and flow in real time – giving users more confidence in the water they are drinking and saving money spent on maintenance and testing. The groundbreaking project addresses lead levels – one of the most pressing issues in water.

“This project redefines public water consumption, putting people and clean water first,” Jim Gillespie, GrayMatter CEO.

The new tech fountains have sensors that use real-time data and analytics to monitor both water quality and flow levels, sending that information to the cloud and back, alerting when water quality measurements begin to deteriorate.

The co-innovation project is just the beginning of many ways private sector innovation and independent operations are joining forces to make water operations more efficient, at a lower cost. The fountains are set to be used in public places this fall, including schools.

Learn more about the GrayMatter and DC Water water innovation project at Transform 2017:

  Learn More About Transform 2017

 

TechHub: Industrial cybersecurity, $1 billion fund for advanced manufacturing & mobilizing the plant floor

Market Analysis Report Evaluates Industrial Cyber Security

Cyber security has become a globally recognized issue of national security for industrial companies in light of increased attacks on water and power utilities.

Complex ransomware attacks are becoming more common among industrial companies, resulting in one of the top annual cyber conferences promoting it as a focus.

The RSA 2017 Conference started off with a group of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a planned water utility hack, demonstrating how much damage a hacker can do by shutting down valves, adjust chlorine levels and falsify readings.

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The RSA 2017 Conference, which featured a live industrial utility hack demonstration.

ARC Advisory Group released a market analysis report that evaluates the current market, as well as a five year market and technology forecast, for industrial cyber security.

Even after a heavy push for protection in recent years, many industrial companies are still struggling to maintain plant security despite having implemented cyber security technologies for protection.

The report cites a lack of resources and lack of cyber security expertise as the key reasons for the insecurity, and that the IT companies the plants use lack a deep understanding of control systems for plant operation.

Industrial companies need to implement the expertise of operational technology professionals that can lock down exposed parts of the network.

Download the GrayMatter Cyber Security Guide for Operational Technology to get a comprehensive understanding of security in the OT world including top vulnerabilities.

The guide walks you through the first steps in knowing what’s on your network and has specific advice about the assessment process from our top cyber security consultants.

Download the Guide

Mobilizing the Plant Floor: Industry 4.0

As we get deeper into the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, plants are becoming digitized and integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT) for faster, better results.

Junot Systems, a specialist provider of integration solutions for industrial companies, released a case study detailing a real customer success story of mobilizing their plant floor for one of the world’s largest producers of printing inks and pigments.

The plant was facing problems such as lacking an audit trail to identify changes to material batches, loose user procedures for necessary validations, lack of mobility on the plant floor and unnecessary manual aspects of order processing.

By implementing NLINK®, Junot Systems’ quick install product suite and SAP certified interfaces, plant floor technicians were given the ability to process orders away from the HMI stations using mobile tablets with each step validated and logged for full traceability.

For a more in-depth look into the validation process in SAP that NLINK® provides, download the case study:

Download Now

$1 Billion Fund to Create Advanced U.S. Manufacturing Jobs

80-percent of U.S. manufacturers are facing a shortage of qualified applicants for skilled production jobs, with a decline in employment within computer and electronic manufacturing since 2007.

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Source: TechCrunch (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

There is an extreme need to close the skills gap within the manufacturing industry, which makes up nine-percent of the U.S. workforce.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced this week that the company has formed a $1 billion fund to promote advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S., according to TechCrunch.

The first investments will be announced later this month, according to Cook, leaving the specific use for the funds a mystery for now.

 

TechHub: Leading a Digital, Industrial Era and Cyber Security as a National Priority

GE’s 2016 Report and the industry potential for 2017 and onward

This week GE Digital released its 2016 Annual Report, highlighting details such as an 83-percent increase in GE cash from operating activities, amounting to $30 Billion, as well as an increase by 4-percent in Industrial Segment Revenues, amounting to over $113 Billion.

Other components to the report are a look into building jet engines, a letter to shareholders, testing a giant gas turbine and more.

The report featured a 3D interactive video, explaining additive manufacturing and the new technologies that help design 3D-printed products.

It allows you to explore pictures of the assembly of the largest jet engine designed for commercial use, as well as the most fuel-efficient one produced by GE.

3D-printed fuel nozzles and fan blades, electron beam melting and more are explored through this interactive demonstration of innovative and futuristic manufacturing in the “Factory of Tomorrow.”

Playing by the (cyber) rules

This week a new set of rules went into effect in New York requiring companies to put cyber defenses in place. It’s just the start of what will be a new era of rules and regulations about cyber security for industries. While this week’s rules are just for New York, they will have a big impact on companies outside of the state.

What are the rules?

Companies in the finance industry are now required to have a cyber-security plan in place.  According to Fortune, this includes network penetration testing, cyber audit trails and restricting access to customer data.  Firms will also need a senior security officer whose job is to submit an annual compliance certificate.

“The days of saying,’I have a great IT guy’ are now over,” said an accounting firm executive during the Fortune interview. Cyber security has become a boardroom issue.  

Who are the rules for?

The companies who need to comply are banking, insurance, or brokerage firms that use licenses to operate in New York. Fortune also reports it’s important to note the rules will affect third-party vendors.


The regulations don’t affect operational technology companies at this time, but the same scenario is playing out in the OT space. Cyber is no longer a technology issue, it’s an enterprise issue. We’ll keep you posted as the regulations grow.

Governors declare cyber security a national emergency, state emergency

“Cyber security is critical to each and every governor.”

Those were the words of Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the National Governors Association, at the four-day-long meeting in Washington D.C. as he urged fellow governors to take cyber threat precautions and increase their states’ defenses.

Noting that his own state faced 86 million cyber attacks in 2016, according to The Hill, the Virginia governor said that cybersecurity is both a national and state issue.

The association has made cyber security a recent priority, holding its first regional summit on cyber security in October and setting up a cyber center to aid states with securing infrastructure.

McAuliffe noted there is still a drastic need of a strategic plan on how to tackle cyber security within states, as well as improving critical infrastructure vulnerabilities.

Learn how to create faster time to OT security and how to multiply your cyber team in the free webinar: Accelerate Time to OT protection on March 16.

Register for the Webinar

New computing system made from blockchain is less vulnerable to cyber attacks

This week, several corporate giants announced joining forces to create a new computing system based on the virtual currency network Ethereum.

Similar to Bitcoin, the technology platform will run on a custom-built blockchain, a very powerful shared global infrastructure that can help developers create markets, store registries of debts, move funds and more.

One notable aspect of the platform is the ability to create a tradeable digital token used as online currency that can either be set to a fixed amount or fluctuate depending on the programming, according to Ethereum, the Swiss nonprofit organization. The virtual currency is known as Ether within the network.

It can run smart contracts. It enables applications to run exactly as programmed without the possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.

This is good news for cyber security experts.

According to the New York Times, the technology is reported as being harder to hack.

By adapting blockchain technology into their business models, large businesses are able to safely keep track of information such as stock and bond trading transactions.

The creation of the alliance shows the push forward among big companies to integrate technology into business plans and create streamlined databases with less back-office maintenance.

TechHub: Realizing the Digital Enterprise at ARC Forum, 3D Printing and More

Industry 4.0: Realizing the Digital Enterprise

This week, leaders in the industrial enterprise— such as Gray Matter VP, Kemell Kassim– met together at the 21st Annual ARC Advisory Forum in Orlando, Florida.

The industry forum featured the latest, most innovative technologies in the digitalization process and convergence of operational and informational technology within plants.

More companies are transitioning to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) products and solutions, and reaping the benefits of real-time data analysis, critical asset management, optimizing performance, minimal downtime and cyber security that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Cyber security is a hot topic at this year’s ARC Forum—specifically, security for industrial environments.

“There are a lot of great solutions out there, but we saw that customers could use help with their strategy and getting the most out of their cyber investments,” said Kemell. Find out more about our cyber offerings here.

Cyber Predictions for the Industrial Sector in 2017

Cyber threats have become a top priority in the industrial sector.

2017 is shaping up to be the year that legislation cracks down on cyber security as a global effort to secure networks, particularly industry and utility networks, and fight international cyber espionage and crime.

According to Forbes, national borders for data and cyber security regulation will be a hot item on the global political agenda.

With continued innovation from malware developers, it’s predicted to develop into multi-faceted functionality and focus on mobile devices.

That means two things: cybercriminals will be able to bypass two-factor authentication via text message and they will continue to try to develop infectious apps in an effort to monetize stolen credit card data.

Ransomware is expected to be a continued threat within the industrial and corporate worlds, as cyber security is mitigating the huge hits from 2016 with anti-ransomware and decryption tools being made readily available.

3D Printing Unlocks New Potential for Production

Much of the imminent future will be filled with artificial intelligence, big data and development in machine operation and production.

3D Printing

The finished product of a 3-D printed CATA gear. Image credit: GE Reports/Chris New

Included in that world is 3D printing, which plays a dominant role in the future of production, manufacturing and automation.

According to Forbes, 3D printing is the process of creating products of typically plastic or metal by laser technology from a template, building up the product in layers until it’s finished.

In the industry, the potential from this is huge.

It unlocks the ability to create lightweight products such as aircraft, cars and filtration devices, as well as build concrete structures more than 50% faster than conventional methods allow, according to Forbes.

GE Digital is currently exploring this new technology at their Center for Additive Technology Advancement (CATA), which opened in Pittsburgh in April, 2016.

Calling it the “latest twist on manufacturing,” GE is exploring the options it offers through printing parts for jet engines with GE Aviation, as well as valves for GE Oil & Gas.

3D Printing

PolyJet printers can print from as many as four polymers at once. Their combination can produce soft as well as hard parts and hundreds of different colors. Image credit: GE Reports/Chris New

Currently, a huge focus for the company lies within their “industrialization lab,” which allows for GE businesses to bring in their 3D designs and work to find a solution to speed up the process from lab to production, according to GE Reports.

“This is a huge breakthrough for rapid prototyping,” Dave Miller, an engineer at CATA says in GE Reports. “You’d normally spend many thousands of dollars and many weeks to achieve the same results. With this 3D printer you are cutting down costs and also your lead time.”

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