Cybersecurity Assurance

UL has announced the a set of testable cybersecurity criteria for manufacturers.

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UL, a global safety science organization, has announced what it calls a Cybersecurity Assurance Program (UL CAP) for industrial control systems, designed to provide testable cybersecurity criteria to help assess software vulnerabilities and weaknesses, minimize exploitation, address known malware, review security controls and increase security awareness. UL CAP is intended for control system manufacturers who need support in assessing security risks while they continue to focus on product innovation to help build safer, more secure products. These steps will help protect the Industrial Internet of Things. The program should benefit OEMs, machine tool builders, system integrators and retrofitters who want to mitigate risks by sourcing products assessed by an expert third party.

Network-connected products and systems offer capabilities that promise significant boosts in productivity to manufacturing companies. Industrial control systems, for example, are becoming more interconnected, connectable and networkable, thus making data-driven manufacturing a practical reality on the factory floor. However, there are growing risks that threaten the security, performance and financial return on these control systems and the equipment they run.

“We’re aiming to support and underpin the innovative, rapidly iterating technologies that make up the Industrial Internet of Things with a security program,” says Rachna Stegall, director of connected technologies at UL. “The more industrial control systems become interconnected with other devices, the greater the potential security risks. The Cybersecurity Assurance Program’s purpose is to help manufacturers, purchasers and end users mitigate those risks via methodical risk assessments and evaluations.”

Developers of UL CAP solicited input from major stakeholders representing the federal government, academia and industry to elevate the security measures deployed by companies, and agencies who may have equipment and devices connected to digital networks. For example, automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, along with the many job shops and manufacturing subcontractors that support them, make up a critical supply chain that must have cybersecurity measures as a priority. UL CAP is being presented as a means for evaluating the security provisions of control systems within these supply chains.

The urgency of this issue was addressed by the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP), which was released by the White House last February. The CNAP is designed to enhance cybersecurity capabilities within the U.S. government and across the country. UL’s CAP program was recognized within the CNAP as a way to test and certify network-connectable devices.

UL’s evaluation of industrial control system security uses UL 2900-2-2, which is within the UL 2900 series of standards. This series outlines technical criteria for testing and evaluating the security of products and systems that are network-connectable. These standards form a basic set of requirements to measure, and then improve, the fitness of products and systems from a network security standpoint. UL 2900 is designed to incorporate additional technical criteria as the security needs in the marketplace evolve.

UL CAP can help vendors identify security risks in their products and systems, and it suggests methods for mitigating those risks. The UL 2900-2-2 standard can be applied to industrial control system components such as:

  • Programmable logic controllers (PLCs)

  • Remote network terminals

  • Human-machine interfaces (HMIs)

  • Input/output (I/O) servers

  • Machine tool control units

  • Intelligent devices such as sensors

  • Fieldbus connections

Industrial control systems that meet the requirements outlined in the standard can then be certified by UL as “UL 2900-2-2 compliant.” Additionally, since security is an ever-changing challenge, UL 2900-2-2 can be used to evaluate a vendor’s processes for design, development and maintenance of secure products and systems.

For more information on UL CAP, visit booth E-4135 at IMTS or visit ul.com/cybersecurity.

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