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New Standard for Developing Cybersecure Industrial Control Products

March 31, 2018
The standard defines life-cycle requirements for developing, maintaining and retiring secure control hardware, software and firmware.

The International Society of Automation (ISA), Research Triangle, NC, says its ISA99 committee, which is focused on industrial control system security and helps create the ISA/IEC 62443 series of standards, has introduced a new standard for developing industrial control products that are “cybersecure by design.”

The ISA said the new standard is designed to provide a flexible framework to address and mitigate current and future security vulnerabilities in industrial automation and control systems (IACS).

The standard, ISA/IEC 62443-4-1-2018, Security for Industrial Automation and Control Systems Part 4-1: Product Security Development Life-Cycle Requirements, specifies process requirements for the secure development of products used in an IACS. It defines a secure development life-cycle for developing and maintaining secure products. This life-cycle includes security requirement definitions, secure design, secure implementation (including coding guidelines), verification and validation, defect management, patch management and product end-of-life.

These requirements can be applied to new or existing processes for developing, maintaining and retiring hardware, software or firmware for new or existing products. The requirements apply to the developer and maintainer of a product, but not to the integrator or user of the product.

“Designing security into products from the beginning of the development lifecycle is critical because it can help eliminate vulnerabilities from products before they ever reach the field,” emphasizes Michael Medoff of exida, who led the ISA99 development group for the standard. “We all know how difficult and expensive it can be to constantly have to patch software in the field. The new standard gives us a real opportunity to break the cycle of frequent security patches and to produce products that are secure by design.”