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Oil Refinery Safety


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http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2017/12/14/hackers-halt-plant-operations-in-watershed-cyber-attack.html

 

This news article is a little scary. 

 

According to the article, hackers were able to access an SIS or Safety Instrumented System made by Triconix.

 

A SIS is used in oil refineries as a completely independent, redundant safety system. To illustrate, it would be like having an angel in your car that can shut off the car if they think you are going too fast. So even if your speedometer broke or you lied, they would know how fast you were going and could stop the car. Since the SIS does not use any of the instrumentation that is used to control an oil refinery, it is not generally affected by mechanical failure, system error or human error, it's a figurative guardian angel.

 

Typically there is no way anyone can access the DCS or Distributed Control System that is used to run a refinery, there are strict security protocol to ensure it is completely gapped from the Internet and even the facilities computer network, the SIS is typically even more secure than the DCS.  However, it appears someone was able to access the SIS at a facility. The danger is that if the SIS is disabled, the facility loses it's second and final layer of safety protection. It's like someone putting a blindfold on your figurative guardian angel and you don't know it...

 

That's not good...

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