Letter F

Get your S4x15 Hotel Reservation at The Surfcomber today or tomorrow. They still have rooms for Tuesday through Friday nights at the $249 conference rate. The non-conference rate is $529.

We are in the fourth and final tier of S4x15 registration. Seats 151-190 and they are going fast. 36 seats left at the time of this writing.

I’ve been heads down writing assessment reports, so haven’t had time to comment on the attack on Sony Pictures. Probably a good thing as I would have just added to much of what has been mostly speculation without facts. The most relevant aspect to ICS to watch is the response. We better understand the expected response to an actual war, in Thomas Rid’s definition. How companies and countries will react to attacks by ICS cyber weapons that cause economic damage, environmental damage and perhaps minimal loss of life is a wild guess at this point. How many people would have predicted capitulation if you ran the Sony Pictures scenario past them before it occurred.

The more relevant attack news this week came from a German BSI report on ICS attacks in Germany and neighboring countries. (Thanks to Stephan Beirer of GAI NetConsult for the tip and translation.) They discuss some incidents related to Havex, but the most interesting is the attack that damaged a steel plant. It was from the easy to accomplish attack vector of spearphishing people who have remote access to the ICS. “The results were massive damage to the system” (translated).

Less attention has been paid to the disturbance in the Austrian power grid covered in Section 3.4.2 of the BSI report. “The failure was probably due to a Control command issued during the commissioning of a gas system in Southern Germany … triggered errors and also reached Austrian power grid. … This caused major disruptions to Instrumentation and control system for network control. … The grid stability could during the incident be ensured only with great effort.” (translated) We are trying to find someone to speak to this report at ICSage and would appreciate any tips or referrals.