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ISA 99/IEC 62443 Series: Definition & Purpose for ICS/SCADA Systems

Instructor: Prashant Mishra

Prashant is currently pursuing his bachelors in Computer Science and Engineering.

In this lesson we will describe the purpose and scope of ISA99 (Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security) and IEC 62443 series of standards as applied to ICS and SCADA systems.

If you are a computer geek like me, you would have come across ISA many a times in your life. ISA basically are standards which define how a particular product, commodity, service should be. ISA99 similarly is another set of standards which are applicable to Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security. These are developed and modified regularly by cyber security experts from across the globe. ISA99 is also the backbone of the multi-standard IEC 62443 series.

ISA99 - Purpose and Scope

Purpose

The ISA99 is meant to form standards, practices, reports, and other technical information that will define a set of standards for implementing Control Systems like ICS and SCADA and also the security practices involved with them. These standards apply to anyone involved with ICS and SCADA systems - users, system integrators and administrators, security experts, manufacturers, and sellers.

The ISA99 committee thrives to improve the integrity, availability, efficiency, and integrity for the manufacture and implementation of control systems. ISA99 also provides a list of vulnerabilities that the control systems might be prone to.

The current co-chairmen of ISA99 are Jim Gilsinn and Eric Cosman.

Scope

The ISA99 defines standards and if compromised could lead to the following situations:

  • Economic loss
  • Threat to national decurity
  • Employee safety
  • Violation of law

The ISA99 standards are not only limited to the manufacturing of both hardware and software components of the ICS and SCADA control systems but also to the human interfaces involved with them.

The image below captures the scope of the ISA99 in detail:

Scope of ISA99
ISA99_Image

IEC 62443

We have seen how ISA99 standards define the hardware and software model for control systems. They also provide security measures for them. However, to advance the security system, IEC 62443 was introduced. Note that this incorporates ISA99 standards also and some other extra measures. IEC 62443 is developed by the ISA99 committee.

IEC 62443 provides a framework to identify, address, and resolve security issues and breaches in control systems like ICS and SCADA systems. These are practiced by cyber security experts worldwide. They specify embedded devices, network components, host components, and software applications required for proper security maintenance of the control systems.

The IEC 62443 defined a life cycle for developing and maintaining secure control system products in February 2018. This life cycle includes the following:

  • Identifying security requirements of the control systems
  • Secure designing of the system (including software)
  • Secure implementation of the system (including software)
  • Verification and validation of the system
  • Patch management of the system
  • Product end of life

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