Building Automation Systems under Cyber Security Attack

David Fisk of the Laing O’Rourke Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation at Imperial College, London has recorded in the recent issue of the Intelligent Buildings International journal that as observed with the PC, it is possible that process controllers, the fundamental building blocks of intelligent buildings, which constitute the building management system (BMS) can be affected by malware, mostly through a backdoor that is left open unnoticed on a reliable network.

According to David Fisk, the fundamental system, for instance, the standby generators must be able to operate independent of the intelligent-building software. He also stated that it is presently not so especially considering CIBSE and ASHRAE standards.

The article titled “Cyber security, building automation, and the intelligent building” takes you through how intelligent control evolved in the 1960s to proprietary software during the 80s to the anonymous cyber aggressor post 9/11.

The central section of the article speaks about a very recent attack called Stuxnet that displayed the confusion that could result from malicious software infecting plant controllers. In this section, he also details how these attacks are a threat to open systems such as the smart grid.

The article in conclusion speaks about risk assessment and mitigation using an imaginary attack on the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems of a super-casino To demonstrate the dire need for the building systems design community to think again conventional security strategies. In the basic sense, it is essential that building service professionals implement a whole-system design approach and owners make the needed plans if intelligence fails.

The article is comprehensive and written with clarity, and hence is very informative for anyone involved in the construction, design, implementation and maintenance of traditional building management systems, advanced intelligent buildings, and the smart grid.

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