Security Experts:

GE Launches New Cybersecurity Offerings for Industrial Controls Systems

GE's Measurement & Control line of business has introduced two new products to protect industrial controls systems from cyberthreats.

The new CAP Software Update from GE is a change management and patch management service designed to help customers keep up with the latest software updates and antivirus signature definitions, Susan Peterson, product line manager of life cycle management, told SecurityWeek.

GE logoThe second product, the SecurityST Appliance, provides customers with network monitoring and events management capabilities, she said. Both products complement each other and are designed to help customers effectively protect industrial controls systems from security threats, Peterson said.

Critical infrastructure asset owners are struggling to keep up with all the patches and updates for all the systems under their watch. With the update service, the asset owners would be able to track systems that need updating as well as handle all testing and documentation-related tasks. The updates will be available every a second Tuesday of the month, although GE may push out updates sooner if something requires a shorter response time, Peterson said.

The updates would be "operator acknowledged," in that the administrator has to accept the latest updates before they could be installed. Everything else, from keeping track of what patch has previously been installed, testing policies, and downloading and applying updates, would be handled automatically by the service, she said.

The updates are cumulative, so even if the customer misses a patch, later updates will include the previous fixes as well as the new ones. The new update service was "the most user friendly way" for GE to help customers struggling to keep up with patch management, Peterson said.

The SecurityST Appliance relies on virtualization to minimize security lifecycle costs and enhance recovery capabilities. The appliance also provides centralized account management, even logging and management, network intrusion detection, and update and backup change management.

There is a "talent gap" between people who know industrial controls and security, Peterson said. The products are intended to help an increasingly IT-savvy workforce close the gap and effectively manage the various systems under their watch, she said.

"Energy producers are facing mounting challenges in securing their industrial controls, and we embrace our responsibility both to help organizations continually improve their security postures and support compliance efforts as they relate to GE equipment," said Terry Knight, general manager of the control solutions group within GE Measurement & Control, a GE Oil & Gas division.

GE's Measurement & Control business has been working on a number of cybersecurity initiatives recently, such as opening a new Information Security Technology Center in Virginia specializing in cybersecurity for GE systems in 2011 and unveiling its Industrial Internet Initiative in 2012. The technology center focuses on security management strategies to prevent, detect and fix risks to GE's data, assets and intellectual property. The Internet initiative helps organizations work with networks, intelligent sensors and cloud computing technologies.

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Fahmida Y. Rashid is a Senior Contributing Writer for SecurityWeek. She has experience writing and reviewing security, core Internet infrastructure, open source, networking, and storage. Before setting out her journalism shingle, she spent nine years as a help-desk technician, software and Web application developer, network administrator, and technology consultant.
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