CERN seeking secure COTS controls, networking for collider

To control its new collider and give physicists remote access to its data, Europe’s laboratory for high-energy particle physics (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, will include commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) controls and networking in its Large Hadron Collider (LHC). CERN stands for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire.  


Scheduled to switch on in 2007, LHC is a particle accelerator that will probe deeper into matter than ever before. It will collide beams of protons with an energy level of 14 TeV. Beams containing lead nuclei also will be accelerated, and smashed together with collision energy of 1,150 TeV. A unit of energy used in particle physics, 1 TeV is approximately the energy of motion equivalent of a flying mosquito. LHC will squeeze this energy into a space about one trillion times smaller than that mosquito.

The Internet, which CERN helped invent, also will be used to give physicists and others remote access to LHC’s capabilities and resulting data. To make this access secure, CERN has evaluated dozens of control and networking devices to achieve a “defense-in-depth” strategy that provides security at each level, including PLCs and other devices, firmware, hardware connections, network protocols, software and third-party software, as well as requiring cooperation by users, developers, and manufacturers.

Stefan Lüders, cybersecurity coordinator of control systems at CERN IT’s controls group, reported at the Process Control Systems Forum’s (PCSF) meeting earlier this year that CERN used Nessus5 and Netwox6 software to test the security resilience of 25 devices, mostly PLCs, from seven manufacturers as part of its Teststand on Control System Security (TOCSSiC) program. Though the PLCs were minimally configured and running idle, only 68% passed Netwox’s test, and only 57% passed Nessus’ test, usually due to communication failures, system crashes, and unprotected servers.

To improve security, CERN has initiated its SCADA Honeynet project to examine malformed data packets and other problematic traffic on its network, and emulate several PLCs to avoid compromising, implement network authorization mechanisms, and generally make industrial security a key ingredient of CERN’s controls and networking.

More News:

  • IDS Is Among the First Vision Manufacturers to Introduce USB 3.0 Camera With Sony IMX174

    Equipped with image sensors, this new IDS camera model delivers outstanding imaging performance previously unattainable by CMOS-based cameras in terms of high sensitivity, high dynamic range, low fixed pattern noise, and highly accurate color reproduction.

  • China Adopts EtherCAT as a National Technology Standard

    Chinese company representatives shared experiences about their numerous EtherCAT systems and applications with the audience and explained the benefits realized through implementation.

  • HART-Fieldbus Foundation Marriage Complete

    The final step in constructing a single organization to lead process automation communications and integration technologies was completed at the end of August when the members of both the HART Communication Foundation and Fieldbus Foundation approved the merger proposed by their respective boards.

  • Use of BYOD Spreads, But Holdouts Remain

    Manufacturing workers are jumping on the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) bandwagon,

  • ISA100 Wireless Standard Gains Final IEC Approval

    ANSI/ISA-100.11a-2011, "Wireless Systems for Industrial Automation: Process Control and Related Applications," has been unanimously approved by the IEC as an international standard

  • Mergers, Acquisitions & Alliances: Danfoss Makes Offer, Hardinge Acquires Assets, and Fanuc and Rockwell Collaborate

    Danfoss made a public tender offer for all shares of the Finnish ac drives company Vacon. Hardinge, international provider of advanced metal-cutting solutions, agreed to acquire the assets of the Voumard internal diameter (ID) grinding business from Peter Wolters GmbH in Rendsburg, Germany. Maverick Technologies, acquired CQS Innovation, a system integrator specializing in control and information systems for life sciences, chemical and metals industries.

  • Belden Advocates Ethernet, Security and Wireless

    The Internet of Things (IoT) and the industrial IoT will use increasingly intelligent network infrastructures, but this will create more risk and increase the need to protect those critical infrastructures and their data. That's why we're investing both organically and through acquisition in Ethernet, security and wireless—so we can help transform this interconnected world.

  • The Future Is Forged at IMTS 2014

    Front and center was large-scale additive manufacturing in the form of the world's first 3D-printed car, which was printed and assembled on-site at the show. The project was a cooperative effort by Local Motors, Cincinnati Inc.; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; the University of Tennessee; and IMTS' Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT).

  • Big Manufacturing Trade-Shows Dominate November Calendar

    There Will be More than 100 Exhibits Featuring Products and Services from Rockwell Automation and its Network of more than 100 Partners.

  • Honeywell OneWireless Takes the Prize for Best Wireless Solution

    The OneWireless Network is designed to enhance efficiency, safety and reliability in business processes. The OneWireless Network offers flexibility and scalability, wire-like performance with wireless security and best-in-class data availability with a low cost of ownership.

All news »

What are your comments?

Join the discussion today. Login Here.


No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments