Wurldtech’s Achilles Helps Make Industrial Wireless Safe and Secure

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Vancouver, Canada — June 2
Wurldtech Security Technologies, provider of the award-winning Achilles Platform and other cybersecurity testing and certification solutions for the critical infrastructure industries, announced it has expanded the capabilities of the Achilles Network Testing Platform to include test suites for emerging industrial wireless protocols. Wurldtech also announced an expanded Achilles certification program to include test specification and conformance criteria for wireless devices.

Why Wireless?
Wireless sensor networks and communications are beginning to change the way data is gathered in industrial plants and utilities. The advantages for industrial facilities in using inexpensive wireless sensors to gather data from critical assets are being seen across the entire spectrum of critical infrastructure industries from refining to chemicals to food and pharmaceuticals. Wireless technologies are a critically important element of Smart Grid projects for the electrical utilities, as well.

There are numerous wireless protocols — among them WirelessHART, Zigbee and ISA100.11a — that have been developed specifically for these sensor networks and that are being rolled out by many vendors and adopted by many end users. Among the many issues facing users of these wireless sensor networks is the lack of cybersecurity benchmarks or standards to which these networks and their sensors can be held accountable.

Wurldtech President and CEO Tyler Williams said, “While these protocols have testing organizations that certify compliance to their specifications, these testing organizations do not generally have the cybersecurity knowledge or the tools, like the Achilles Platform, that make assuring cybersecurity for these networks and devices practical. That’s why we've rolled out the wireless Achilles test suite.”

Wired or Wireless Security Assured
The Achilles technology is widely adopted among control system vendors for wired networking infrastructure, and the use of Achilles technology has made significant improvements in the safety and security of the SCADA and process control systems that operate global critical infrastructure. Now the same improvements are available for wireless networking infrastructure as well. The Achilles Wireless Test Suite has added additional physical layers to the Achilles platform to enable robustness testing over IEEE 802.15.4, the most common radio hardware standard for these wireless sensor networks.

Assuring Wireless Security for Smart Grid
Obviously, the security and reliability of Smart Grid infrastructure in the world’s electric utilities’ transmission and distribution systems is critical to the success of providing reliable electricity from many disparate sources such as wind, solar and tidal systems, geothermal power plants and cogeneration systems.

Many of these systems will be connected wirelessly, as will Demand Response systems centered on both residential and industrial consumers. “It is critically important,” Williams said, “that these potential intrusion points be robustly protected against unauthorized penetration. Utilities, end users and vendors alike can count on the Achilles Wireless Test Suite to ensure minimum risk.”

“I encourage end-user companies to insist to their vendors that the network devices they supply, whether wired or wireless, are Achilles certified,” said Greg Garcia, the first Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Communications in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from 2006 to 2008. “In my opinion, there is no reason why any device on any industrial network should be deployed without going through rigorous security and robustness testing. I am very pleased to see Wurldtech has shown leadership and stepped up to provide the necessary tools.”

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