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Assessing and improving SCADA security in the Dutch drinking water sector

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Author: Luiijf, H.A.M. · Ali, M. · Zielstra, A.
Source:International Journal of Critical Infrastructure Protection, 4, 124-134
Identifier: 441925
doi: doi:10.1016/j.ijcip.2011.08.002
Keywords: Safety · Drinking water · Good practice · Process control · SCADA · Information security · Organisation · NO - Networked Organisations · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences


International studies have shown that information security for process control systems, in particular SCADA, is weak. Many of the critical infrastructure (CI) services critically depend on process control systems. Therefore, any vulnerability in the protection of process control systems in CI may result in serious consequences for citizens and society. In order to understand their sector-wide security posture, the drinking water sector in The Netherlands benchmarked the information security of their process control environment. Large differences in the individual security postures of the ten drinking water companies were found. Good Practices for SCADA security were developed based upon the benchmark results. This paper discusses the simple but effective approach taken to perform the benchmark, the way the results were reported to the drinking water companies, and the way in which the SCADA information security good practices were developed. Apart from some high-level indications of areas requiring more security attention, no actual security posture results are presented in this paper since the study data contain company and national sensitive information. For the same reason, the figures in this paper are based on artificial data.