I have just published a children’s book on SCADA. How crazy is that?
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition(SCADA) refers to the technologies and protocols used in most manufacturing, oil and gas, electrical grid, and transportation for communicating with physical components like pumps, turbines, and switches. That communication can be used to set new operating parameters or simply to gather data. SCADA is a broad umbrella that covers dozens of manufacturers of the controllers of industrial systems and many protocols, some proprietary, some published standards.
It is easy to understand why SCADA is somewhat of an enigma to even IT security pros who usually do not have a mechanical, process, or manufacturing engineering background. Industrial control systems (ICS) experienced their own digital revolution as analog relays mechanical switches were replaced by digital components controlled by computers. Along the way, security basics like encryption, authentication, and digital certificates were pretty much left out of SCADA.
Because control systems are usually highly critical (think nuclear power plants), the idea of connecting them to the Internet seems outrageously risky, considering the rampant malware and malicious activity that goes on. But the transition to TCP/IP networks came with the digital age and not surprisingly, many control systems are indeed connected to the Internet. Even in a tightly segregated network, like that controlling uranium centrifuges in Iran, can be bridged in the manner of Operation Olympic Games (Stuxnet) that reportedly jumped the gap with a USB thumb drive.
Which brings me to why I wanted to publish SCADA and ME: A Book For Children and Management, authored by Robert M. Lee and engagingly illustrated by Jeff Haas. It is the first children’s book to provide an entertaining education on the critical control systems that are embedded in every part of modern life.
“As I began lecturing on critical infrastructure protection I realized that a children’s book would be a perfect way to make the topic approachable,” said Lee. “I hope that educators and security professionals alike will find it a valuable resource for increasing awareness of SCADA and its vulnerabilities.”
“We immediately saw the value in this wonderful book.” Said Samuel Linares, Director of the Industrial Cybersecurity Center (CCI) in Madrid, Spain. “We have ordered copies for every delegate to the 1st Ibero-American Industrial Cybersecurity Congress. October 2nd & 3rd. Madrid.”
My hope is that this little book will help elevate understanding of the critical role SCADA plays and will be used by those who want to educate their managers, CEOs, policy makers, and yes, even children, about the systems that control the man made world around us.
SCADA and ME is available today on Amazon in print and Kindle editions and is available to bookstore and library buyers. Learn more at www.SCADAandME.com
Robert M. Lee is a U.S. Air Force Cyberspace Operations Officer, Adjunct Lecturer at Utica College, and Director and Founder of the non-profit educational organization hackINT. He is currently pursuing a PhD in War Studies at Kings College, London with research in control systems cybersecurity.
IT-Harvest Press is a non-fiction book publisher formed in 2012 by Richard Stiennon, a security industry analyst and author of Surviving Cyberwar (Government Institutes, 2010). It’s goal is to find and publish unique works by acknowledged experts.
Richard Stiennon is an industry analyst who writes and speaks on many security topics. He writes the Cyber Domain column at Forbes.com and is the Senior Fellow at the International Cybersecurity Dialogue, a think tank that is working to bridge the communication gap between security technologists and policy makers. He was VP Research at Gartner and has held executive roles at Fortinet and Webroot Software. He has a BS in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and is completing his MA in War in the Modern World at King’s College, London.