The virus Stuxnet, which spreads via Microsoft Windows because of security vulnerabilities, made operating system security a hot topic for munitions and utility plants. If you’ve been ignoring it as a CPG-based manufacturer, printer, or any other type of company that uses automation, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.
While Stuxnet targeted Siemens drive technology, this isn’t an issue that affects only one brand.
Manufacturers and printing companies may have vital information stored away in their servo drive files, even if they don’t realize it. These systems can tell competitors production rates and other secrets of the trade, and even allow competitors access to control the systems. While this is clearly illegal in the United States and an offending competitor would suffer dire consequences, industrial espionage and sabotage are facts of life in many industries.
While drive and control technology is less vulnerable than, say, the machine you use for email, it’s also easier to hack into legacy systems than machines with modern operating systems. And no matter what kind of technology you’re using, the most common security threats are not sophisticated hackers — just people who leave doors open when they shouldn’t. It therefore makes sense to use basic security precautions for all your systems.