Top 2014 Cyber Security Content You Don’t Want to Miss

Over the holidays, you likely read or heard about a number of “Top 10” lists. Examples include Top 10 News Stories, Top 10 Books, Top 10 Movies, and Top 10 You-Name-It.

Thinking you would not want to miss out on the top topics about one of your favorite subjects, industrial security, I took a look at what the top articles were for this blog in 2014. I also looked at which cyber security white papers and other documents were downloaded most frequently.

The results show that there were three top themes:
1.The End of Support (EOS) for Windows XP
2.The Dragonfly advanced malware campaign
3.“Cyber Security Big Picture”

The “Cyber Security Big Picture” topic included information on the NIST cyber security framework and cyber security concepts for CEOs.

Finally, particular application areas showed a high area of interest. This included Defense in Depth strategies for oil and gas applications and industrial wireless applications.
If any of these topics are of interest to you, or you want to make sure you didn’t miss any useful content, read on.

Top Cyber Security Topics of 2014
Reader visits and content downloads helped us determine
the top cyber security topics of 2014.

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7 Key Questions for Industrial Wireless Security, Part 2 of 2

Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Julia Santogatta, Belden’s director responsible for wireless initiatives, with expertise from Daniel Wade, Chief Architect-Wireless Products and Jeffrey Caldwell, Chief Architect-Security.

In Part 1 of this article, I introduced the Golden Rule of Industrial Wireless Security – Deploy Securely, Monitor Regularly. Following this rule ensures that unwanted access to your wireless LAN and the rest of your network does not occur.
But, how do you deploy securely?


While you may fear that industrial wireless is insecure, today’s reality is different.
By using current equipment and following our special Golden Rule, it is possible to design a robust and secure wireless application.

These days, most cyber security articles talk about using Defense in Depth, or a layered approach to securing industrial networks. This means using a variety of defenses at various points in the system to protect the network or contain threats. The idea of layering, and the resulting benefits, is no different in wireless applications.

By implementing measures to address these seven key questions you will be building layers of protection that contribute to the best practice of Defense in Depth. Let’s take a look at the questions in detail.

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7 Key Questions for Industrial Wireless Security, Part 1 of 2

Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Julia Santogatta, Belden’s director responsible for the wireless initiatives, with expertise from Daniel Wade, Chief Architect-Wireless Products and Jeffrey Caldwell, Chief Architect-Security.

What is the No. 1 concern when it comes to wireless solutions in the industrial world? While the answer might be debatable, if you’ve read some of my other blogs you know I feel passionately that it often comes down to one of two things – is it reliable enough and can I secure it?


While you may fear that industrial wireless is insecure, today’s reality is different. By turning on the security features available in current equipment offerings and following our Wireless Golden Rule, it is possible to secure wireless applications.

At our recent Industrial Ethernet Infrastructure Design Seminar, Jeff Caldwell, chief architect for security at Belden, posed this question to the audience – is wireless more secure or less secure than a wired network? Crazy question, right?
But when you start thinking about it and boiling it down to the basics, maybe he has something here. Consider this:

  • Passwords generally aren’t needed to plug a wired PC into a router and access a network, but they are required to connect to a wireless network. You can lay down a hub, use Wireshark or the like and see all of your data streams.
  • Not the case with wireless, even if you’ve only set up the most basic and common place security, which 95% of the population does.

Thus while saying wireless is more secure than wired networking may be hard to grasp, comparing the reality of the two options can be helpful.
I know. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “I still worry. I hear about so many attacks these days.”

Well, today I’d like to introduce you to the 7 key questions to ask yourself when planning your WLAN. Shared medium or not, wireless can be secure. So let’s combine these questions with the “Golden Rule of Industrial Wireless Security” and calm your fears a bit.

Read more »

Integrated PRP Extends Industrial Wireless Applications – Part 2 of 2

Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Julia Santogatta, Belden’s director responsible for the wireless initiatives and Dr. Tobias Heer, Belden’s Head of Embedded Development.

In Part One of this series we explained how recent advances in technology and standards have revolutionized reliability for industrial wireless applications; they are no longer the Achilles heel of signal transmission. Specifically, Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP) as defined by IEC 62439, is helping in this revolution as it greatly improves wireless network performance in three important areas:

  1. It drastically decreases the potential for data loss because it is a zero-failover design –renegotiation and signal recovery times are non-existent
  2. It improves transmission time by decreasing latency.
  3. It reduces jitter throughout the data transmission

The improvements in these areas are dramatic. In practical tests, the perceptible packet loss for an application with PRP was reduced to 0.00021 percent using a PRP connection. That’s a 500-fold reduction in packet loss!

It is quite unbelievable – but true to the level of improvement you could realize in the field. (See the technical article “Doubling Multiplies the Benefit” for more details on improvement measurements.)

Now, let’s build on the gains from standardized PRP and look at two additional developments that make today’s wireless even more practical. These implementation options include frequency diversification and the integration of PRP right into wireless equipment.


Read more »

New PRP Redundancy Extends Industrial Wireless Applications – Part 1 of 2

Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Julia Santogatta, Belden’s director responsible for the wireless initiatives and Tobias Heer, Belden’s Head of Embedded Development.

Several months ago we asked whether you have moved wireless projects off the back burner yet. The reason we asked is because new advances in technology and standards mean it’s probably time to take a fresh look at industrial wireless.

One of the most common concerns about wireless for wide-ranging mission critical applications has always been – and still is – reliability. Will it work in your noisy environment? Will it be robust enough to ensure your data makes it to its destination? Can it ever provide you the assurance you need that it is stable enough?

These are all good questions. Up until now, there have been many techniques and planning guides written to help address those concerns. However, there hasn’t been an integrated, tried and true solution to really hit the mark I’m sure you’ve been striving for – zero failover, zero data loss.

Recent advances in technology and standards have changed this. These advances have made industrial wireless applications much more stable, reliable, fast, secure and a lot easier to deploy. This is in part thanks to the use of an updated and improved protocol called Parallel Redundancy Protocol (PRP).

In this Part 1 of a two-part series on redundancy techniques for reliable industrial Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs), I will explain why PRP technology makes wireless worth another look.

Yesterday’s Industrial Wireless Applications

  • Traditionally, wireless LANs have been used in industry when:
  • Cable is too heavy for the application.
  • Cable will not perform under the wear and tear of the application.
  • Cable is impossible to use because the application involves mobile machines or vehicles.

Read more »

Oil Refinery uses Industrial Wireless for Remote Monitoring

Looking back in time it might be fair to say that smoke signals used during America’s Wild West days were one of the original wireless communications. For their era, they were pretty effective.

Sending information quickly across distances is still important. Traditionally, landlines and wired connectivity have provided the best communications solutions. If it is not possible to link systems by wires, communication has been very difficult, particularly for industrial applications.

Into this wired world came wireless technology, for example, the personal mobile phone. While clunky and unreliable at first, now it is the preferred telecommunication method for millions of people.

Similarly, concern about wireless security and reliability in industrial settings has limited deployment in the past. However, current technology now supports robust and reliable industrial Ethernet-based wireless systems. We are at a tipping point for the adoption of wireless, as shown in the following example of how one refinery is using it in areas where cable is not available or is too expensive to install. Read more »

Achieving Next Gen Connectivity with Industrial Ethernet – Revisited with Wireless

Last month, in Part 1 of this topic, we discussed how applying industrial Ethernet can truly transform your facility and provide unanticipated benefits.

Wireless technologies are thriving on the plant floor for a number of reasons, but two key criteria include improved safety and security and lower costs. Security concerns initially associated with wireless have been dispelled or at least diminished. Standards development for wireless systems has caught up with conventional Ethernet with the development and expansion of IEEE 802.11. The standard governs wireless LAN communications and has helped advance the security of Ethernet wireless systems, some say even beyond that of hard-wired systems. New products such as the BAT300-Rail series with three transmission/reception antennas are now better able to receive signals being sent over the industrial network.

Another significant benefit of wireless applications is their lower cost. In many cases, a wireless system is more economical because it eliminates the hard wired costs of cabling and connections and the associated installation effort. In addition, wireless adds convenience to maintenance tasks. For example, if a technician can perform repairs, update firmware, or even do minor programming without opening the cabinet door to access a controller, tasks can be completed quickly, easily, and with less risk.

Today, both wired and wireless products are available for industrial Ethernet applications. For more information, download our Achieving Next Generation Connectivity with Wired and Wireless white paper.

Want to Learn More about Industrial Wireless?

If you’d like to learn more about industrial wireless, two great resources are now available. The first is the June issue of Control Engineering, which features a cover story on Industrial Wireless. The cover photo and lead story feature Hirschmann industrial wireless products implemented at the PEMEX Tula Refinery in Mexico.

In this application, the refinery was able to increase efficiency and protect its critical cooling tower s with wireless monitoring and analysis of process and vibration sensor data. Belden and RYMSA, the system integrator, were able to implement the wireless products to protect critical assets and overcome serious line-of-sight issues.


To read more, visit the Control Engineering cover story online–beginning on page 30.

Still haven’t gotten enough industrial wireless?

Last month, Belden sponsored and presented in the successful webinar, “Industrial Wireless: Where and When.”

You can still register to catch the webinar that had over 500 viewers. Read more »

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