Process Control Systems Forum to accelerate development of secure control systems

Concerned about protecting the nation's power and energy systems, refineries, water management, and factory automation from a devastating cyber attack, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security funds creation of forum that will host first spring meeting May 17-18 in Dallas...

WASHINGTON, April 7, 2005 (PRNewswire) -- Protecting our nation's power and energy systems, refineries, water management, and factory automation from a devastating cyber attack is critical for homeland security.

Many of these most vital infrastructure assets are operated by computerized automated control systems such as Process Control Systems (PCS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. Adoption of PCS and SCADA technology has allowed for great improvements in efficiency, safety, and response to market forces. There is, however, increasing concern that this has come at the price of increased vulnerability to network attacks. To address this concern, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has funded the establishment of the Process Control Systems Forum (PCSF), which will be managed by a private sector/government collaborative board and facilitated by Mitretek Systems.

The purpose of the PCSF is to accelerate the development of technology that will enhance the security, safety, and reliability of PCS and SCADA systems. In a February 9th address, Dr. Charles McQueary, DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology, introduced the PCSF as "a critical first step in what will be a collaborative effort among industry decision makers to develop an inherently safer technology for the process control systems that underpin the nation's critical infrastructures."

The PCSF will provide a single venue for technologists from all user sectors, vendors, and academia to work together in evaluating, specifying, developing, refining, and testing new technologies. Innovations developed by the PCSF will guide requirement gathering, testing, retro-fit, development, and deployment strategies for secure control systems. The PCSF will leverage knowledge currently dispersed among sectors, and stimulate cross-functional discussions between those responsible for information technology (IT) and operations.

The PCSF will build upon existing work in this subject area, and establish links with industry and government to arrive at a common underlying architecture for the process control systems of the future. The goal of the PCSF is to protect our nation by developing next-generation core architecture that offers security, reliability, resiliency, and continuity in the face of disruptions and major incidents.

The PCSF will host its inaugural meeting on May 17-18, 2005 at the Marriott Dallas/Addison Quorum in Dallas, Texas. The event will provide a venue for cross-industry, cross-functional discussions in the development of safer technology for Process Control Systems that support our nation's critical infrastructure.

Attendees will network with key representatives from the Control System community. The presentations and working sessions will provide the opportunity to learn about current activities, promote new initiatives, and discuss future issues critical to Control Systems security. Attendees will engage in problem- solving and decision-making processes, and contribute to the future security of Process Control and SCADA Systems.

Additional information on the PCSF and the Spring meeting is available at


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