Drives and Controls Magazine

Keep spies out of your networks

01 April, 2004

Keep spies out of your networks

Siemens claims to have developed the world`s first secure version of industrial Ethernet. It says that the development will allow even non-IT experts to protect data transmissions from spying and manipulation.

The secure technology includes two hardware modules which control data traffic and protect sections of plant from unauthorised access, while establishing secure, encoded VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections. The modules can protect individual control devices, or network segments such as automation cells. One (called the S-612) protects up to 32 devices, while the other (S-613) can protect 64 devices and has an extended temperature range of -20°C to +70°C.

In addition to the hardware modules, Siemens is also offering software versions which can, for example, allow laptop computers to communicate with security modules without needing special hardware.

The modules monitor all data traffic to prevent unauthorised access, interference, communications overloads or faults. Only authenticated devices are allowed to communicate.

As well as encoding data using 128-birt encryption, the security levels can be raised by using firewalls and logging all access attempts.