I had high hopes for this book since Bryan Singer is very experienced in ICS, ICS security and IT security --- and Bryan and co-author Tyson McCauley did not disappoint. To date this is clearly the best book on ICS Security by far. (Note - Langner's book Robust Control System Networks: How to Achieve Reliable Control After Stuxnet is a 5-star, must read, but it intentionally talks engineering not security)
The two best things about this book are:
1. They got the facts right about both ICS and IT security. This is not as easy as it sounds as most books have failed or been simplistic in one area or another.
2. They provided the background information for a beginner to understand, but followed that up with significant technical detail and examples. It's a good book for a beginner or intermediate in either area, and even those with years of experience in both areas will learn something. For me the best new info was the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and Security OEE as a future risk assessment technique in Chapter 4.
Chapter 1 provides a good background on ICS for the IT security audience. Again, sounds straightforward, but a lot of the ICS security books today read like the authors have not spent much hands on time with a SCADA or DCS. Excellent material for the IT security professional or anyone else new to ICS. They started to lose me on the Taxonomy of Convergence in that chapter, but I'm interested to hear what others thought of that sub-section.
Chapter 2 covers threats to ICS, and there is great information here such as:
- "given today's network threat environment, ICS security impacts are first and foremost likely to occur as a result of unintended effects of outsider attacks" - "ICS is most likely to suffer as a matter of the lucky hit or collateral damage, as opposed to direct attack" - "indirect threat of impacts associated with the probing, scanning and attacking inadvertently impacts the fragile ICS devices" - "Differentiating between phishers, spammers, foreign intelligence, and organized crime is not very productive if they are all using the same attack vectors"
I could go on and on as I highlighted sentences throughout the chapter and was muttering yes as I read.
Chapter 3: ICS Vulnerabilities introduces the readers to classes of ICS impacts such as Loss of Control and Denial of View. This has been talked about at S4 and other conferences by Zach Tudor, Bryan and others, but it has not yet been adopted by those entering the ICS security world. Chapter 3 will likely be the most beneficial to the largest number of readers.
Chapter 4 covers ICS Risk Assessment Techniques. Those new to ICS security will benefit from the first half of the chapter covering the most popular current techniques. The old hands are likely to learn more in the second half of the chapter where the authors cover possible future techniques.
Chapter 5: What Is Next In ICS Security focuses primarily on IPv6. It's material readers won't find elsewhere, but it seems a bit out of the flow of the book. My guess is IPv6 is something one or both of the authors feel passionate about and wanted to add it in. There's nothing wrong with a bit of a self-reward as writing a book is a very difficult.
So why not a 5-star review? McCauley and Singer actually predict the reason in Chapter 1. They write "We intend to satisfy a wide range of readers in this book; this is where we become most ambitious". They are writing for the IT security professional who doesn't know ICS and for the ICS engineer who doesn't know security. Inevitably there are chunks of information that are simplistic for either audience, and this comes at the expense of an even more in depth discussion. It's an understandable decision to take this approach since it increases the potential readership size.
This is clearly the book to get or give if you want to read about ICS security today.
This book has been an excellent read. It has an abundance of engineering detail and builds on the NIST 800-82 and NERC guidelines. I have recommended this book to my fellow security engineers and have shared it with folks at CSSP INL.
I would say that Dale Peterson's reviews of this book in Digital Bond [...] and here on amazon are the most poignant and insightful reviews and do not require a repeat by me. However, I must add that Macaulay's recommendations in "Cybersecurity for Industrial Control Systems: SCADA, DCS, PLC, HMI, and SIS", while great were more reactive in nature and did not provide much futuristic approaches to designing secure ICS devices. Implementing firewalls and IDS/IPS's and updating AV and OS patches, while important starting points, are things of the past, that are easily evaded by savvy and determined attackers. I am hoping that research on the use of more robust techniques such as secure hardware modules like TPMs or similar will surface and that techniques to secure those devices at the hardware abstraction layer will also be considered by vendors. Convergence will continue to bring those devices to the Internet, shunning proprietary protocols such as Modbus RTU, RP-570, Profibus, Conitel and DNP3 is not the answer. The days of security through obscurity are long gone. I think that Digital Bond's "Firesheep" should keep up the pressure on vendors to prevent both a second lost decade and a "Cyber Pearl Harbor" from happening.
This book along with the following resources form a great toolset to dealing with this issue: 1) Robust Control System Networks - Ralph Langner; Hardcover 2) DRAFT SP-023: Industrial Control Systems: [...] 3) Digital Bond's BaseCamp: [...] 4) Digital Bond's SCADApedia: [...]
I gave it 4 stars because of it's groundbreaking insight into a neglected critical area of our lives and I hope that future editions will introduce more robust security controls and architectural insights.
Jovita Nsoh, CISSP, CITA-P, CISM Senior Security Architect. Microsoft
First of all, this is not an technical "how to" manual. It is an overview of the emerging world of cybersecurity. This industry is still in its preteen stage. This book looks at and explains different approaches to securing Process Control Networks and gives you information about who is leading this and what it available. It is a very good reference book and can guide you to making the right decisions based on your individual needs. But be warned, the concepts and explanations therein are pretty "technical" and the author does not go get into much definition. Which is not the purpose of this book. It is definitely written for those already mature in this field. Which I am not but it broadens my understanding helps me to "catch up".
There have been many books on the subject, and overall this is probably the best book. It is applicable for IT people wanting to get into industrial cybersecurity, and industrial control engineers wishing to know more about cybersecurity. Both the authors have a lot of experience in this area and it shows.