CC-Link working group on open Ethernet safety

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Open Ethernet safety

Most people involved in manufacturing agree that the spread of open Ethernet has brought important benefits, such as enabling trends like Industry 4. However, it also has introduced new challenges, including cyber security.

In the past, cyber security attracted little attention on many shop floors. Today, most engineers and technicians have securing their production systems against unauthorised access as a top priority. With connected processes resulting from Industry 4 to an enterprise, addressing cyber security is becoming a more and more urgent requirement.

Seamless Message Protocol (SLMP)

The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) has established a working group on industrial open Ethernet safety. It aims to provide a guideline document for users building secure networks around the open gigabit Ethernet CC-Link IE technologies. The document will address the strategies for users adopting the CLPA’s Seamless Message Protocol (SLMP) and CC-Link IE Field Basic.  It covers general IP communication used for both cyclic and transient communications.

The widespread adoption of Ethernet and Internet in manufacturing has led to the convergence of IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology). Following several high profile cyber-attacks in recent years security concerns have brought to the fore. The manufacturing community is taking steps to harden vital production systems against attacks, but typically the task is more complex than would be the case in the IT environment.


Human factor

It is the plant personnel who must operate, maintain and manage a plant. It is important to include this “human factor” a key part of the puzzle. Furthermore, it is important to include physical and cyber security measures when creating a multi-layered or “defence in depth”. This approach combines a secure architecture with physical access control, secure networks, monitoring.

Industry in general is taking steps to make hardware more secure. CLPA however believes there is a need to go further. There should be more focus on network security whilst still meeting the requirements of the shop floor.

It formed a open Ethernet safety working group with CLPA partners including Belden-Hirschmann, Cisco Systems, Hilscher, HMS, Mitsubishi Electric, MOXA and Panduit. They will build on the network security strategies defined under IEC 62443, which focuses on industrial automation and control systems. The standard is a comprehensive framework that addresses all key aspects of securing plant systems, such as how to establish a security programme, use cases, technical requirements and so on.

Go here for more information on  CC-Link open Ethernet gigabit networks



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