How Vulnerable are CNC Machines to Cyberattacks?
Published on : Monday 02-01-2023
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are susceptible to cyberattacks that can result in physical harm, data theft, and hijacking, cautions Dr Shekhar Pawar.
John T Parsons (1913-2007), a founder of the Parsons Corporation in Traverse City, Michigan, is credited with developing the numerical control, the predecessor to the modern CNC machine. John Parsons' accomplishments have given him the moniker ‘father of the second industrial revolution’. He realised that computerising production was the way of the future when he realised that he needed to manufacture sophisticated helicopter blades. Parts created with CNC technology are presently used in almost every sector. Thanks to CNC machines, we have more accessible goods, a more robust national defense, and a higher standard of living than is conceivable in a pre-industrial civilisation. Punch card-operated calculating equipment was first referred to as a ‘computer’ in 1946. Digital instructions are needed for the CNC, and these are frequently produced with CAD or CAM software like SolidWorks or MasterCAM. The software creates G-code that the controller of the CNC machine can comprehend. The computer program on the controller comprehends the design and moves the cutting tools and/or the workpiece on several axes to cut the desired shape from the workpiece. When compared to older equipment's manual tool and workpiece movement utilising levers and gears, the automated cutting process is noticeably faster and more accurate. Modern CNC machines can do a range of cuts and have many tool holders. The amount and diversity of tools that the machine can automatically access throughout the cutting process, as well as the number of planes of movement (axes), determine how complex a workpiece a CNC can make.
CNC machines are capable of carrying out a wide range of tasks with a high level of effectiveness, reliability, and accuracy. They include lathes, punch presses, mills, plasma cutters, water jet cutters, electric discharge machines, and lathes.
Users may manage CNC machines remotely and add-ons to make them more helpful as they get more complex. As they get more complicated, they might be more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Researchers from Trend Micro have looked at CNC products used by industrial businesses all around the world from Haas, Okuma, Heidenhain, and Fanuc. According to the analysis, each of these manufacturers' products is vulnerable to around a dozen distinct types of attacks.
The researchers showed that an attacker has the ability to steal important intellectual property, hijack a system, and inflict harm or disruption. Each of these possibilities may have a large financial effect on a company.
For instance, a hacker might damage or stop a CNC machine from operating by altering certain aspects of the device's design or the controller's program. The attacker may cause noticeable damage or make major changes that result in a defective product. Hackers might possibly disrupt production by activating alarms that prevent the machine from operating until a human intervenes. Although an attacker may conceivably set off one of these alarms, they are designed to shut down the computer in the case of a hardware or software malfunction.
For instance, a hacker might change certain features of the device's design or the controller's program to harm or prevent a CNC machine from running. The attacker could make significant alterations that lead to a faulty product or cause obvious harm. By setting off alarms that prohibit the machine from working until a person steps in, hackers might potentially interrupt production. Despite the possibility that an attacker may activate one of these alarms, they are made to shut down the machine in the event of a hardware or software error. Trend Micro claims that by implementing industrial intrusion detection and prevention systems, segmenting networks, setting up CNC machines appropriately, and making sure they are safe, these assaults may be prevented.
By changing certain elements of the device's design or the controller's program, a hacker, for instance, may harm or prevent a CNC machine from running. The attacker could make significant alterations that lead to a faulty product or cause obvious harm.
By setting off alarms that prohibit the machine from working until a person steps in, hackers might potentially interrupt production. Despite the possibility that an attacker may activate one of these alarms, they are made to shut down the machine in the event of a hardware or software error.
Hackers may interfere with production by setting off alarms that stop the machine from working until a person steps in. These alarms are intended to shut down the computer in the event of a hardware or software fault, even if an attacker may theoretically set one off.
A new framework called BDSLCCI offers a domain-specific security posture that helps to defend the organisation's key asset areas. For instance, CNC machines are mission-critical equipment in the manufacturing sector that has to be secured against online attacks. BDSLCCI offers similar assistance.
Dr Shekhar Pawar is a DBA in the cybersecurity domain at SSBM, Switzerland. He has completed his executive management degree from SJMSOM, IIT Bombay, and engineering in electronics and telecommunications from Mumbai University. Some of his skills and certifications include Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator (CHFI), ISO 27001 – Lead Auditor, PCI DSS Implementer, Diploma in Cyber Laws, Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), Certified Blockchain Developer, Certified ATM for CMMi Assessment, DSP & Applications – IIT Madras, and Diploma in Industrial Electronics. He is also the author of the nonfiction book ‘Air Team Theory: Understanding 10 Types of Team Mates and Best Practices to Succeed’. Currently he is working as Founder and CEO of SecureClaw Inc., USA, and GrassDew IT Solutions Pvt Ltd, Mumbai.
Leave a reply: