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News

Increased industrial automation security risk from April 2014

Innominate Security Technologies : 27 August, 2013  (Technical Article)
Industrial automation systems reliant on the Windows XP operating system will become at increased risk after April 2014 due to Microsoft's withdrawal of support
Increased industrial automation security risk from April 2014

Innominate Security Technologies advisedly reminds users of Industrial Automation equipment utilizing a Windows XP operating system that Microsoft Extended Support and Security Updates will cease entirely on April 8, 2014. Any asset owner utilizing the Windows XP operating system should urgently think about appropriate security measures now, to ensure security and continuous production.

New Windows XP vulnerabilities continue to be identified. By early July, Microsoft had released 31 Windows XP relevant security updates in 2013, 18 of them classified as critical, following 25 critical out of a 39 total updates in 2012.

While the obvious solution might be to upgrade to a newer operating system, this may involve significant costs and interruptions. Software upgrades within an operating production network commonly encounter unintended and unanticipated consequences.

A simpler, less expensive solution has already proven successful in the automotive industry and on automated production networks using older systems from Windows 95 to Windows 2000. This solution utilizes distributed security appliances based on Innominate’s mGuard technology to protect non-patchable legacy systems on the network, installed by ordinary technicians without interrupting production, configured and launched easily from a central server console. The resulting advantage is a low-cost hardening of these systems by a simple and transparent installation of plug-and-play modules wherever required.

With mGuard Integrity Monitoring, Innominate offers an award-winning, industry suitable solution to protect Windows-based automation components against malware infestation. To achieve this, mGuard Integrity Monitoring supervises file systems against unexpected modifications or additions to programs, dynamic link libraries, and other executable code without utilizing virus patterns – thus eliminating the need for their permanent update. This innovation can even detect damages from zero day exploits for which virus patterns don't even exist yet.

The clock is ticking, and there may not be adequate time for the planning, preparation and sweeping implementation of a new operating system. But there are proven security products available to provide cost-effective protection for industrial networks and equipment.

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