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Cyber Security for the Power Grid: Securing DNP3 Communications

The Distributed Networking Protocol (DNP) is heavily used within the power grid and was developed to increase communications efficiency and preserve a chain of events even if communication links go down. This presentation focuses on the DNP3 protocol which ensures communications with remote sites such as transmission substations. Two industry experts discuss DNP3 benefits as well as vulnerabilities, offering practical advice for protecting protocol integrity and device communications.



Date: May 19, 2016
Time: 2 PM EDT (11 AM PDT)
Duration: 1 hour
Presented by:

Overview

The Distributed Networking Protocol (DNP) is heavily used within the power grid and electric utilities and was developed to increase communications efficiency and preserve a chain of events even if communication links go down. This presentation focuses on the DNP3 protocol which ensures communications with remote sites such as transmission substations. Despite interruptions from communication challenges such as distance, interference, media speeds, terrain, and weather, DNP3 will retain event sequence information and will transmit when communication recovers.

At the same time, the RTUs, PLCs, IEDs, DCS, HMIs, data historians, and other operator consoles using DNP3 can be vulnerable to compromise and disruption to the reliable availability and delivery of energy. This can happen through unauthorized access, employee error, protocol weaknesses, OS vulnerabilities, network communications and malicious activity. Attendees of this presentation will not only gain a better understanding of industrial security and the protocols that power communications, they will learn how to secure ICS/SCADA at the protocol level - with a focus on DNP3 in particular - using defense-in-depth, secure zones and conduits, and deep packet inspection.

Key Take-Aways

  • Understand the fundamentals of industrial security and the protocols that power communications
  • Understand top challenges ICS engineers are trying to solve before serious outages occur
  • Discover what every ICS/SCADA control engineer wants his IT team to know
  • Discuss specific use cases and practical advice for protecting protocol integrity and device communications

Speakers

Erik Schweigert, Senior Cyber Security Researcher and Programmer, Belden

Erik Schweigert leads the Tofino Engineering team within Belden's Industrial Cybersecurity platform. He developed the Modbus/TCP, OPC, EtherNet/IP modules and directed the development of the DNP3, and IEC-60870-5-104 deep packet inspection modules for Tofino security products. His areas of expertise include industrial protocol analysis, network security, and secure software development. Schweigert graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Vancouver Island University.

Joel Langill, Founder, Scadahacker

Joel Langill is the founder of Scadahacker.com, co-author of the book Industrial Security Networks, a member of the board of directors for InfraGard, and former solution architect at Honeywell. He is a senior technical professional with more than 30 years' global industry experience involving industrial networks, safety, and security. Langill graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.