An GE Industrial Control System, or simply ICS, refers to a collection of individual control systems and other hardware which work together to automate or operate industrial processes. Each industry, such as manufacturing, chemical processing, and food production, will utilize ICSs that are useful for their specific processes. The goal of GE industrial controls is to make daily operations more efficient and autonomous, with minimal input from human workers. Additionally, industrial control can come in various forms and types, such as supervisory control and data acquisition systems, distributed control systems, and process control systems.
What is the architecture of GE industrial control systems?
The main components of this architecture are:
- A control loop consisting of actuators such as valves, switches, and motors; sensors that detect the status of variables associated with the industrial process (eg temperature, pressure, flow rates), and a controller that manages the actuators based on sensor readings and operator input.
- A human-machine interface (HMI) that allows operators to monitor the controlled process and influence it
- A data historian that logs all process control activity to allow reporting at multiple levels
- Remote diagnostics and maintenance that allows GE industrial controls support staff and vendors access to diagnose and correct operational problems.
Types of industrial control systems
Usually, industries have different industrial control systems for electronic applications. Although, any infrastructure and regions of industrial production, treatment of water, transportation, and power management requires different GE industrial control along with its associated procedure and services as well. Industrial Control Systems are organized into many classes by reference to their control action’s relative complexity of the overall functions of the ICS. Common types of these control systems that will be discussed further include:
Programmable logic GE industrial control systems
Programmable logic industrial control systems are super solid- control sturdy, powerful construction and a suite of amazing functionalities. Some of these functionalities include an intuitive programming interface, I/O control, three modes (PID) control, arithmetic, counting and timing mechanisms, and sequential control. These GE industrial controls are built with durability, capable of holding up to extreme weather conditions such as the very highest and lowest temperature, maximum humidity different electronic noises, and powerful vibrations. Additionally, it is design to monitor and manage large numbers of actuators and sensors, and they stand out when compared to typical computer and processor systems due to their high amount of I/O setups.
Application of Programmable logic GE industrial control systems include:
- Injection Molding Control System (IMCS) for plastics
- Corrugation Machine Control System
- Safety Control Systems in the travel industry
- Escalator and Lift Operation
- Ball milling, shaft kiln, and coal kiln in the manufacture of cement
- GE Industrial Controls for processing flat glasses and glass material ratio in the glass industry
- Controls for the production of newspapers or book pages in the offset type of web printing process
- Washing machines
- Traffic signal control and operation
Intelligent electronic devices
Intelligent electronic devices are devices that are made for many purposes. Like in the areas of communication, metering purposes controlling and monitoring of power, they typically are electronic components with microprocessors, such as a circuit controller and regulator device. These electronic devices can communicate through several different protocols, such as through real-time Ethernet or Fieldbus, a digital communication method. Intelligent electronic devices can be found in many processes and GE industrial control systems such as DCS and SCADA.
There are many applications for Intelligent Electronic Devices, such as:
- Metallurgical process plants
- Environmental control instruments
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing
- Food and food processing
- Sewage treatment plants
- Quality control
- Automotive manufacturing
- Water treatment plants
- Paper mills
- Agrochemical and fertilizer
- Sugar refining plants
- Petrochemical and refineries
- Water management
Supervisory GE industrial control and Data Acquisition
The Supervisory GE industrial control and data Acquisition is basically a computer
a system that processes and collects data and different exercises operational controls in industries. These systems were design to sort out communication issues. Specifically, data intergry and time delay issues happen by media in industries. Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems are used in many applications of industries, some of which are:
- Pipeline systems
- Power transmission and distribution
- Phone lines
Programmable Automation Controllers
Programmable Automation Controllers enable systems to provide extreme-level complicated constructions to certain automated equipment. Usually, these GE industrial control systems are well suitable for the industrial and construction sector and various applications. Often have more connectivity options and a wider capability of controlling systems than most PLC systems. Programmable Automation Controllers have five main elements: one multi-discipline development platform; enterprise network compatibility; adaptable software tools that improve process flow; multi-domain functionality; and a modular, open architecture.
- Vision systems
- Process control
- Motion system
- Logic system
Human Machine Interface
Human-machine interfaces are basically hardware and software base means of communication and information exchange between human and working operators in the industries, with this human machine interface GE industrial control various device observation can be controlled visualize, and manage through the interaction between machines and workers.
There are many working applications of Human-machine interface
- Portable handheld devices
- Machine and process control of factory floors
- Digital signage
- Centralized control rooms
Industrial Automation and controls system
Industrial Automation and controls systems are a combination of solid-state, electromechanical devices that fulfill work for a certain control, monitoring, and citation process on many logical devices. Additionally, automation GE industrial control can also be capable of tracking and controlling different processes through sensors on machines in, software and hardware use in industries.
Applications of IACS include:
- Motor controls and accessories (AC and DC brakes, motor controllers, adjustable speed, and variable frequency drives)
- Autotransformers, reactors, transducers
- Process control systems
- Integrated manufacturing
- Various human-machine interface devices
What are the different challenges of GE industrial controls security?
As the technology becomes advance the industrial control systems have the same security challenges as traditional IT environments, they have their own unique challenges as well, including:
Requirements of high availability:
For GE industrial controls systems, in critical infrastructure, manufacturing, and other industries, availability and uptime are of the utmost importance. This makes securing these systems difficult as they cannot be easily taken down to install security updates.
Secure and proprietary protocol:
Usually, GE industrial controls use the types of the proprietary protocol including many that were designed decades ago to support long-lived components. These protocols often lack basic security features (such as encryption and access control) and cannot be updated.
Focus on Detection Over Prevention:
GE industrial control has high availability requirements mean that the potential that legitimate operations will be blocked is a significant concern. For this reason, ICS security is often set to detect attacks rather than attempting to prevent them.
Different threats to GE industrial control systems
Attacks against ICS devices can intentionally or unintentionally cause loss of availability. Attackers can gain access to these systems in a number of ways, including:
- Lateral movement from IT network
- Direct access to Internet-facing systems
- Phishing attacks to compromise legitimate OT account credentials
- Exploitation of vulnerable IoT and Internet-connected systems
Tips for best security GE industrial control practices
GE industrial control systems commonly lag behind IT systems in terms of protection against cyber threats. To start bringing ICS system security up to speed, implement these best practices:
Perform ICS Asset Discovery:
Many organizations lack full visibility into their complete ICS infrastructure. A full understanding of ICS assets and their network connectivity is essential to security.
Monitor Network Baselines:
ICS networks should be fairly static as the devices connected to them rarely change. These networks should be monitored to establish a baseline, then to detect and alert on any network anomalies or new devices connected to the network.
Perform Network Segmentation:
Historically, GE industrial control networks were protect by air gaps, but this is no longer the case. Securing systems that were not design to be connect to the Internet requires network segmentation with firewalls that understand ICS protocols.
Implement Least Privilege:
Many ICS protocols do not implement access controls, allowing inappropriate access to privileged and dangerous functionality. ICS protocol-aware firewalls should be use to enforce access controls on ICS network traffic.
Deploy an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS):
Detection-focused ICS security leaves an organization in the position of responding to existing malware infections and security incidents. An IPS should be use to identify and block attemp exploitation of known vulnerabilities in ICS systems and the legacy operating systems that they run on.
Secure Remote Access: Remote access is often necessary for monitoring and management of ICS assets at geographically distributed sites. However, this access should be implement using strong authentication, access control, and encryption to protect against unauthorize access to and exploitation of these system.
Secure Physical Access:
Physical access to GE industrial control assets can threaten their availability and enable defenses to be by pass. ICS should be protect by both cyber and physical security measures. GE industrial control is complex and vulnerable, but they are also a vital part of critical infrastructure, manufacturing, and related industries. Protecting these systems against attack without interrupting normal operations makes ICS-aware security essential.