The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is tasked with many things. One area of focus is Industrial Control Systems (ICS). The Industrial Control Systems Joint Working Group (ICSJWG) was formed to facilitate this focus. This group holds semi-annual conferences (Spring and Fall) in various US cities. These meetings are filled with presentations by industry experts on cyber security for ICS. The meeting format can vary somewhat but usually includes several tracks of presentations that cater to the interest of the attendees. There is also one day set aside for cyber security training for either a beginner or intermediate level. One of the best things about these conferences … they are FREE to attend. You only have to pay your travel expenses.

The most recent conference was 7-10 May 2012 in Savannah, Georgia. I attended the previous conference in October 2011 held in Long Beach, California. It was a great opportunity to meet and network with people who shared the same basic concerns about cyber security and preventing attacks.

Some of my take-aways from the Fall conference:

  • Physical security and cyber security are linked and interconnected; you can’t look at one without the other
  • The government is there to help – REALLY
  • It takes a village to combat cyber attacks – law enforcement, government agencies, private industry, private citizens all need to be involved
  • Making changes to software related products presents unique risks unless the changes are planned and analyzed for their effects on existing operations
  • Complexity is a big threat in itself; complexity must be managed and reduced to avoid chaos

Security is truly everybody’s business. The more you know and understand about security and its vulnerabilities, the better prepared you are to deal with security issues and build security into your products.

For more details about ICSJWG, their newsletters, and past conference material, you can browse these websites:

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