Panel Builder System Integrator

Mica data transmission 400

 

April 30, 2019

By Thomas Holthöfer, Regional Digital Marketing Manager, HARTING Deutschland

The large variety of machines and plants that has mushroomed over many years is increasingly being networked for monitoring and maintenance purposes. The threat posed by cyber-attacks is highly problematic in the face of old systems and their data connections which lack their own protection mechanisms. This is where HARTING comes in with its MICA® Edge Computer.

HARTING’s MICA® Edge Computer enables machines and systems of any kind to be integrated into an IIoT system. As a result, services such as condition monitoring, predictive maintenance and determining KPIs such as OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) are now possible for existing plants and equipment as well. Depending on the application, suitable interfaces and the appropriate software are combined with the MICA® to form a solution package.

When integrating existing systems into a network, besides the availability of plant interfaces the security of connections and data poses the greatest challenge. Given this, HARTING has developed special protection mechanisms for the MICA® mini-computer and enhanced it with security solutions developed in its MICA partner network.

Major cyber risks for machinery and facilities

A variety of recent studies confirms the growing number of cyber-attacks. Know-how at medium-sized production companies is an especially attractive target. According to the VDMA study "Cyber Risks in Mechanical and Plant Engineering", the majority of companies are not adequately prepared for attacks. The protection that is in place is inadequate and outdated, and consequently there are threats in the form of business interruption and the loss of confidential company data.

This is where the MICA® and the enhancements developed in the MICA partner network come in. The MICA® enables medium-sized businesses without large IT departments to securely connect machines and systems. Protection comprises five core elements:

  • MICA®-provided protection due to a secure operating system
  • Holthofer mica 400Protection of applications in the MICA®
  • The use of secure protocols
  • End-to-end encrypted data transfer
  • Protection of applications

One MICA network partner is Berlin-based Infotecs, a leading international IT security provider and specialist in software-based VPN solutions. Combining the MICA® and Infotecs’ security solutions permits e.g. the remote control of wind farms, video transmission of final quality inspection in remote production facilities, the management of remote maintenance access, and early scheduling of maintenance work. With Infotecs’ solution, data transmission between the MICA® and a remote peer is protected by a bug-proof and tamper-proof VPN connection (Virtual Private Network) and encrypted end-to-end. "The starting point for our security solution is the MICA. The MICA is particularly robust and secure for the industrial environment," explains Josef Waclaw, CEO of Infotecs.                                          (Thomas Holthöfer)

Securing the MICA® against attacks

The MICA® is a mini-computer with network connection. The computer has a Linux-based operating system and virtualised application environment consisting of Linux containers. The MICA® operating system is designed to be very slim and contains only the software elements required to operate the MICA®. This in itself eliminates numerous potential attack vectors. For example, the MICA base system does not include package managers, e-mail clients or other services that are often attacked by hackers. The MICA® base system is also inaccessible to users and administrators and cannot be modified by them.

The applications on the MICA® run in separate, virtualised Linux containers. They are designed so that processes or applications cannot gain access to another container or to the operating system. While the MICA® operating system is provided by HARTING, containers can also be developed by third parties, e.g. in order to provide security applications.

End-to-end protection of data transmission from applications

ViPNet software from Infotecs was developed as a MICA container and acts as a virtual security gateway for the MICA’s other application containers. When the applications send data, the latter are picked up by ViPNet, encrypted and sent to the equally protected peer. This can be another machine at the same location as well as a remote peer in a remote network, for processing of the process data.                                                                                                        (Infotecs CEO Josef Waclaw)

CEO mica

Infotecs CEO Josef Waclaw emphasises that additional safety requirements should be considered in industrial applications. Standard networking applications typically work with web servers vulnerable to cyberattacks. Waclaw cites problems with buffer overflow, insecure protocols and man-in-the-middle attacks. Consequently, ViPNet software does not use web server technologies. Another difference mentioned by Waclaw is that standard VPN solutions with asymmetric encryption have been developed for office environments. The keys and certificates are first exchanged in the network and a secure connection is then made to the complete network.

"However, for the security of an industrial production environment it's important to establish a connection solely to a single machine, rather than immediate access to the entire network. We achieve this through a direct connection that is symmetrically encrypted end-to-end," the Infotecs CEO said. The remote peers are also equipped with symmetrical keys, and only those data packets where the key fits are opened. This procedure does away with the necessity of exchanging keys via the network and the subsequent verification of certificates. This is advantageous e.g. for connections via mobile communications, since no additional delays are caused by renewed exchange of keys in the face of more frequent disconnections. "The solution, in combination with the MICA, protects sensitive equipment and industrial applications. The software is set up once, and no in-depth IT skills are required," Waclaw summarises the concept.

Security solutions for industrial applications

With the MICA.network, HARTING has set up a user organisation around the MICA® Open Computing Platform. A partner network has emerged here that provides solutions for e.g. factory automation, logistics, ERP connectivity, IoT and embedded systems, predictive maintenance and a wide range of security solutions. Berlin-based Infotecs is one of these partners. Perfact and krumedia are among other partners with solutions in the area of data protection.

Remote maintenance solution with central service portal

PerFact::MPA (Meeting Point Architecture) was specifically designed in-house for efficient and controlled collection and troubleshooting malfunctions via remote maintenance. It enables the secure and easy setup of a remote connection to a machine. If a problem occurs on a machine, with the push of a button the customer connects the machine via the internet and the service technician receives temporary access to the machine’s controls.

Secure data transmission over public networks

krumedia’s SeComBo Suite enables the secure and dynamic networking of individual network subscribers or complete networks via public networks. This is possible even with restrictive security requirements in company-owned infrastructure and data transmission paths. The focus is on ease of use and complete transparency for the devices involved, so that any network subscribers can use these services. Central administration is web-based and requires no additional software.

Changing Scene

  • Prev
Pilz will be hosting several conferences for their 2020 Virtual Trade Show starting on Tuesday May ...
Koch Engineered Solutions (KES), a unit of Koch Industries Inc., recently announced it has acquired ...
Festo Canada is pleased to announce Electrozad, the largest independently owned electrical ...
Littelfuse, Inc., a global manufacturer of technologies in circuit protection, power control and ...
Allied Electronics & Automation has added more trusted suppliers to its 300-strong network, ...
Rockwell Automation announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire privately held Avnet Data ...
January is traditionally a month for new hope and new energy to meet life and business goals. But ...
Moxa Inc. recently introduced its Industrial Network Defense Solution, which is specially designed ...

One of Canada’s largest wastewater treatment plants at Annacis Island provides secondary treatment to approximately 175 billion litres of wastewater every year for over 1 million residents in 14 municipalities. After almost 20 years in operation, the variable frequency drives supporting the critical pumping systems for the primary treatment and secondary treatment facilities had to be replaced to ensure that the plant’s high operational availability and reliability will not be compromised in serving the plant, the surrounding municipalities and the environment. Metro Vancouver Regional District chose to deploy Rittal’s enclosure and power distribution solutions with E-plan software to efficiently support vital infrastructure improvements by reducing equipment replacement times and thereby minimizing risk to plant operations.

How Omron's Robotic Solutions Increased a Chocolate Company's Production By 40%

OmronAt BOLCi Bolu Chocolate, a Turkish manufacturer of elegant truffles and other delicacies, the opportunity arose for some improvements to its production system. With over 300 employees and a 20,000-square-meter factory, BOLCi has a product list of over 800 different items and produces and average of 200 tons of chocolate items each month.

BOLÇİ’s guarantee to its customers is that its chocolate is never sullied by human touch during production or packaging. In order to maintain this immaculate status and reach increasingly high production targets, the chocolate manufacturer turned to Omron and system integrator Innovas to devise an automated solution for its packaging line.

Read More

David Willick of Schneider Electric talks Optimizing Mining Operations, Integrated Technology and Sustainability in Mining

Schneider ElectricBy Blake Marchand

Based out of Toronto, David Willick, VP & Regional Segment Leader for Mining, Metals and Minerals, Schneider Electric, is a mining industry veteran. Being with Schneider for the last three years, he is really starting to see the mining community focus in on producing sustainable products by utilizing new technologies and data analytics platforms.

“I’ve been in the industry 30-years and I’ve never been more excited than I am today,” he said, and being with a company like Schneider that has really taken a leading role from a sustainability perspective makes it that much more interesting.

Read More

Product News

  • Prev
  Hammond Power Solutions Inc. (HPS) has announced the availability of a line extension of ...
The new multifunctional MACX-TR timer relays from Phoenix Contact now make simple time control ...
The PTFIX product family from Phoenix Contact has now been extended to include a nominal cross ...
For the very first time, manual deburring processes can be automated with the robot deburring tool ...
At the show, an M-710iC/45M robot used the 3DV/1600 vision sensor to quickly find and snap boxes of ...
Industrial producers can now improve their network resiliency by using primary and backup adapters ...
Festo is meeting the need of the North American automotive sector for a powerful yet flexible valve ...
AMT series encoders from CUI Devices are advanced capacitive encoders with a variety of uses. AMT ...
Seifert SoliTherm Thermoelectric Coolers from AutomationDirect use the Peltier Effect for ...
Safety Machine Analytics is used to monitor and analyze safety systems on machines. After quick and ...
Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2020 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil