Does Industrial Automation Need Cybersecurity Standards?

Broadly speaking, we don’t think your printing press or milling machine needs a high level of cybersecurity. A 2017 report found that remote attacks on industrial robots could cause small errors which might not be caught before they released ready-to-fail drones onto the world.

And who can forget the tomato-stabbing humanoid robot in this video?

The truth is, there are much more serious threats to corporate cyber safety, including your colleague who stays logged into his company ERP when he goes to lunch and leaves his password pin a Post-It note stuck to the side of the computer.

Are things changing?

But there are circumstances that can make robots more vulnerable.

Certainly, industrial automation is more likely to be interconnected now than in the past. These machines are also more likely to be in physical proximity with human workers than they were in the past.

Human workers — as ever — are likely to be a source of cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

For example, the post-pandemic labor shortages means that there are not enough workers with cybersecurity skills or even cybersecurity awareness to keep every factory safe. To the extent that a company has to rely on contract workers or remote workers, it’s hard to put or keep consistent cybersecurity practices in place.

Even the extra rush on work that can come up in an understaffed facility can lead to inconsistent practices.

And it’s not just the people. Most facilities have machines from different makers. That increases the chance of software incompatibilities, as well as inconsistent security requirements. Add in legacy components, often with various kinds of retrofitting, and you have a lot of moving parts, figuratively as well as literally.

Time for standards?

Historically, manufacturers have been resisted too the idea of cybersecurity standards that apply across the board. Ironically, one of the reasons for this resistance has been security. If machines have to meet consistent standards, makers felt, they would have to share a lot more proprietary information than they wanted to.

But it may be time for cybersecurity standards to be agreed upon and implements in manufacturing, The government thinks so.

In the meantime, when you need service or support for your Rexroth electric industrial motion control, we should be your first call. we are specialists, and we can attune repair and reman that will get you back up and running fast.

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