DNP3 Security

April 18, 2008
How to keep a SCADA network open and maintain security from cyber-attacks.

DNP3 protocol has become widely accepted within water and electrical utilities worldwide for SCADA communications with field equipment. One of the reasons for its acceptance is because it is an open protocol. This allows manufacturers to supply equipment to utilities which can be easily integrated into their SCADA systems.

However, DNP3 was never designed with security in mind. Since it is an open design, anyone familiar with the protocol could launch an attack on a SCADA system. This is especially true when the protocol is used over radio networks where packets can be intercepted with a scanner.

In recent years, regulatory bodies have taken an increasing interest in the security of public infrastructure. The threat of terrorism attacks are taken particularly seriously. SCADA communications networks are of particular concern since they often control essential services such as sewerage, water and electrical supplies to the community.