New MD at Yokogawa Canada

07/05/2012

Yokogawa Electric Corporation has appointed Ian Verhappen to be the Managing Director of Yokogawa Canada Inc. reporting to Yokogawa Corporation America President Mr. Chester J. Mroz. In this position, Mr. Verhappen will be responsible for overseeing all Yokogawa business operations in Canada. With his experience and reputation as a strong leader in the industrial automation industry, Yokogawa is well positioned to expand its business in the Canadian market.

Mr. Verhappen’s professional career covers a broad range of engineering, managerial, consulting and executive positions with a leading oil sands operator, automation suppliers, and consultants, and engineering societies. Mr. Verhappen spent the first 25 years of his career in the upstream hydrocarbon industry with Petro-Canada (now Suncor) and Syncrude Canada Ltd. gaining exposure to the full spectrum of the oil and gas as well as the oil sands sector. Mr. Verhappen left the Oil Sands industry for MTL Instruments (now part of Cooper Crouse-Hinds) where he was responsible for the development of worldwide business strategy and results for MTL’s global industrial networking business. More recently, Mr. Verhappen has been working in the engineering services business as a global consultant assisting clients with their process plant networking, digital field systems, process control and safety systems, process analyser systems and automation projects.

Mr. Chet Mroz, President of Yokogawa Corporation America had the following to say about the appointment: “Mr. Verhappen is well recognized within our industry as someone who quickly identifies the customers’ core problem and understands how technology can be used to provide cost effective solutions to the issue at hand. I believe that his experience, industry knowledge, understanding of the Canadian market, as well as his strong leadership, will help expand our business in Canada by providing customer services excellence.”

He holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta, and a Certified Automation Professional. He is a Professional Engineer in Alberta.He has been an active volunteer member of the International Society of Instrumentation, of which he is a Fellow, for many years. He has served in senior society positions in the publications and strategic planning as well as much activity in the standards area. He is co-author – with Augusto Pereira – of “Foundation Fieldbus,” which recently issued its fourth edition, published by ISA.

Mr. Verhappen, born and raised in Western and Northern Canada, will be based in Yokogawa Canada’s headquarters in Calgary, Alberta.

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Gases trapped in High Arctic could tip climate scales!

07/10/2011
By Dominic Duggan, Quantitech.

Enormous quantities of greenhouse gases (GHG) exist within Arctic ice and frozen soils, so with the threat of global warming, a clear understanding of the relationship between GHG in the atmosphere and in the ice/soil is vital because melting of permafrost could cause a dangerous climate tipping point. There can be few more challenging environments for monitoring gases, but PhD researcher Martin Brummell from the University of Saskatchewan has successfully employed a Gasmet DX4015 FTIR analyser to do so in the High Arctic of Canada. This article explains the procedures and challenges of multiparameter gas detection in freezing remote locations.

Is this beautiful Arctic scene hiding a climate tipping point?

Working in the field imposes a number of requirements for analytical equipment. However, the extreme weather conditions of the High Arctic impose a new level of capability that is rarely available as standard. Field work in such conditions must be simple, flexible and fast, but most importantly, Martin Brummell says, “The equipment must also be extremely reliable because you do not have the luxury of a local Quantitech engineer.

“The Gasmet DX4015 was also the ideal choice because, as an FTIR analyser, it is able to monitor almost any gas, which is normally a feature of mains powered laboratory instruments, but the DX4015 is portable and powered by a small generator, so it is ideal for monitoring in remote locations.”

Sampling and analysis in the Arctic
A set of simple, perforated steel tubes were driven in to the soil, to the point of the permafrost threshold. Inside these tubes gases within the soil were allowed to reach equilibrium via diffusion over 24 hours. This allowed Brummell to analyse gas concentrations to a depth of 1 metre. The procedure was simple and therefore reliably repeatable. Furthermore, measurement of gas concentrations at different depths enabled direct comparison with soil analysis.

Using FTIR in the ‘field’

Ready to measure!

The Gasmet DX4015 is a portable FTIR gas analyser for ambient air analysis. FTIR, an abbreviation for fourier-transform infrared, is an interferometric spectroscopic instrument (interferometer) that uses the infrared component of the electromagnetic spectrum for measurements. A fourier-transform function is applied by the interferometer to obtain the absorption spectrum as a function of frequency or wavelength. Consequently, this unit is able to simultaneously analyse up to 50 gas compounds. The analyser is typically set up to measure a variety of different gases, including VOC´s, acids, aldehydes, and inorganic compounds such as CO, CO2, and N2O.

The DX4015 is operated using a laptop computer running Calcmet™ software, a program that not only controls the analyser but also undertakes the analysis. This software is capable of simultaneous detection, identification and quantification of ambient gases, which gives the DX4015 its ability to simultaneously analyse multiple gases in near-real-time.

The FTIR’s many beneficial traits, such as reliability, precision and flexibility make it a vital piece of analytical equipment in a very wide variety of applications including industrial emissions monitoring, occupational safety surveys, engine exhaust testing, process monitoring, leak detection, emergency response, chemical spill and fire investigations, and many others.

Brummell’s use of the DX4015 on his most recent research expedition investigating the soils in the polar deserts of the High Arctic, highlights the model’s capabilities in the field. Carried out on Ellesmere Island in the Baffin Region of Nunavut in Canada, the DX4015 had to perform reliably in extreme environmental conditions. The analyser was used to monitor the production, consumption and atmospheric exchange of the greenhouse gases Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O); all three being major components of natural biogeochemical cycles. These gases are each released and up-taken by soil microbes in the Arctic.

The DX4015 was used to examine both the flux of gases from the soil surface and the concentration profiles of gases in the soil’s active layer above the permafrost. In doing so the FTIR provides raw data consisting of gas concentrations in parts-per-million (ppm).

Explaining his reasoning behind choosing the Gasmet DX4015, Martin Brummell highlighted some of the analyser’s key advantages: “The real-time nature of the Gasmet FTIR, allows me to see results within minutes of setting up in the field. This permits me to make changes to the experimental design and further investigate unexpected results whilst in the field. This contrasts with traditional methods of soil gas analysis, which employ lab-based gas chromatography systems and collection of samples ‘blind’ in the field.”

Results
Surprisingly, the work revealed areas of strong CO2 and CH4 production immediately above the permafrost. Brummell believed this was the result of the relative disparity in carbon distribution in Arctic soils in comparison with warmer climes. Carbon accumulates far lower in Arctic soils due to a process known as cryoturbation; the constant mixing and burying of organic matter, which fuels microbial activity at a deeper level.

Comparisons between the surface flux and the soil profile for each of the greenhouse gases was a key objective within Brummell’s investigation. Most notably, he observed a negative surface flux for NO2, but no significant regions of consumption were identified. The location of the NO2 sink is not yet clear, nor the organisms and biogeochemical processes responsible.

Conclusions
Martin Brummell’s research provided a new but complex insight into the production, consumption and exchange of greenhouse gases and soil microbe pathways in the Arctic. His work highlighted the importance of reliability, ruggedness, flexibility and accuracy in the equipment which is employed in such work. However, the ability of the DX4015 to provide simultaneous measurement of multiple gases in near real-time was a major advantage.

In comparison with all of the equipment that is necessary for research in Arctic conditions, one might imagine that a highly sensitive analytical instrument would be the most likely to be adversely affected. However, Martin Brummell found this not to be the case with the Gasmet DX4015: “In contrast to other field equipment I have used in the High Arctic, including self-destructing sledgehammers, unreliable generators and broken fibre-optic cables, the Gasmet DX4015 has never failed even in the most difficult field conditions. It has happily survived air-transport, inconsistent electrical supply, low temperatures, rain, snow, mud and all other insults, and always gives me accurate, precise measurements of gas concentrations.”


Walt, wireless and the curate’s egg

03/10/2011

Earlier this month we published a release which, at first glance, appeared to be the approval of the ISA 100.11a 2011 Industrial Wireless Standard by the IEC. We entitled it ISA100 receives IEC approval – yes and no!. What it was in fact was an announcement of recognition of the standard by the IEC “as a publicly available specification, or PAS.”

The release was carefully worded and indeed further down it quoted the chair of IEC’s SC656 Committee, which would in fact oversee the actual approval of the standard, as saying “An IEC PAS allows the early publication of a standard that has obtained consensus in a professional society such as ISA, and will further promote the use of this standard throughout the world!”

As we published our article a commentary was published by the well respected Editor in Chief of Control, Walt Boyes, who is in fact a voting member of the ISA 100 Wireless Systems for Automation Committee. This was critical of the release and of the procedure adopted to get this approval. His article, Truthiness is next to Godliness, in effect stated that the release was, if I may quote the old English expression, “like the curate’s egg.” We quoted from this as a sidebox on our blog. His beef was that the procedure adopted was irregular for the obtaining of full IEC approval and in that it did not follow the usual ISA rubrics in obtaining this approval. In this case the approach to IEC was through a Canadian standards body. He also maintained that the release implied that the standard had in fact full ANSI approval, which it hadn’t, and that as an ANSI approved body it was obliged to process all standards through this, the US standards authority. He also challenged the “openess” of the standard. (Truthiness,” is an Americanism for shading the truth in your favour!)

See also the British based Industrial Automation Insider’s comment in their October issue reproduced below! There is an interesting discussion on this as well on the LinkedIn Industrial Wireless Group.

It now appears that he was tackled by somebody in ISA, in what he thinks were fairly intemperate terms. He has not felt free to divulge the actual correspondance without the agreement of the other party but from a blog he wrote the other day, Truthiness Clarified! we may perhaps make certain broad assumptions.

This person apparantly felt that there were significant errors and misinformation in what he had written about the press release and what it really meant. In the course of this dialogue Boyes believed his integrity was impugned and that, in essence, he was accused of being in the pocket of certain vested interests. Now I have known Walt Boyes for over forty years and somebody less likely to be in anybody’s pocket it would be difficult to imagine. Indeed he says, and I have no difficulty believing it “…as Editor in Chief, I think it is pretty clear that I am an equal opportunity offender,” when it comes to anything he writes. He takes few hostages!

It is more than likely at some stage that ISA100.11a will in fact be approved as an IEC and ANSI standard but perhaps this might happen more quickly if a more unified and regular procedure were adopted by the committee as is the case in the multitude of other ISA standards used throughout the world.

• We had hardly published the above piece when the latest Industrial Automation Insider hit our post box and Nick Denbow corroborated and agreed with a lot of what Boyes wrote in his original piece. We append Nick’s piece here:

Liars, damned liars and manipulative PR writers

One of the main functions of the INSIDER is to read a press release, then sit back and ask how it relates to any other press releases, or even known information about the same subject. The title above is a variation on Mark Twain’sreported comment about “statistics” being worse than even “damned lies” (but no-one knows whether it was a phrase from Mark Twain, or Disraeli, in around 1890). A similar phrase was used in the journal ‘Nature’ in 1885, in the context of describing witnesses as: “Simple liars, damned liars and experts”. But then they had never met a PR agent, because they had not been conceived in 1885 – propaganda, and public relations, was really invented in WW1, probably by the US Government (employing Edward Bernays, nephew of psychoanalysis pioneer Sigmund Freud, and Ivy Lee).

Publish: it must be true!
These days, there are so many websites available that merely reproduce any press releases submitted to them, as submitted, that the word-manipulations of the PR agent can sail through to “officially endorsed” publication. Not many of the regular ISA releases reach the INSIDER, because most advertise their future events, rather than present useful information. However their latest release promoting the actions taken over ISA100 with the IEC stretches to the lower depths of the PR art.

ISA finds new route into the IEC The title of this ISA release claims that the ISA100 Wireless Standard Receives IEC Approval: even the capitals imply that the words are formal. But the ISA100 wireless specification is not yet a standard with a capital “S”, in IEC terms, and their approval, with a small “a”, is maybe ‘approval, but not as we know it’, in the words of Star-Trek: in other words, actually, the IEC has agreed to a proposed course of action by the ISA. That course of action is to publish the specification, presumably the one called ISA100.11a-2011, as a “Publicly Available Specification (PAS)”, and that has to be an excellent idea. It is just a pity it has taken what seems to be three years for the queries raised by the participation of a user [Shell Global Solutions] – about the identified problems in ISA100.11a in the “Nice Use Case
Analysis Project” – to be answered (See the background published on www.iainsider.com and in the INSIDER, dated March 2010). This puts a new light on the oft repeated claim that the ISA100 specification is developed with “direct enduser participation and support”.

Hopefully the publicly available version of the specification will be posted soon on the ISA website, for public consumption. Regrettably it will probably, in reality, be available only for an exorbitant fee, via the Wireless Compliance Institute, one of the money-making commercial arms of the ISA, and probably will not encourage or enable the easier design of products meeting ISA100 by smaller companies. We should maybe remain alert and look out for a continuing closed shop.

False claims and knocking copy
The ISA release also makes comments about how their procedures have followed an “open consensus process as accredited by ANSI”. This claim is covered and dismissed very effectively by Walt Boyes in his weblog for September 16.

Boyes also highlights the traditional ISA slap made in their press release against the WirelessHART standard, which was accepted as an IEC Standard, IEC62591, over 18 months ago. ISA says “Unlike non-accredited processes typically used by vendors’ consortia to develop specifications, ISA’s [claimed as] ‘ANSI approved’ procedures call for direct participation and voting by experts from end-user companies”. Boyes asks how long the ISA is going to “continue flogging this really dead horse”, which does appear to reflect poorly back on the ISA themselves. But there is a more general comment to be made: how long is the vendor and user community expected to wait for these venerated, very slow moving standards committees to catch up with the faster strides of technology? The ISA is three years late.

Satisfying market demands
In that time, the dynamic engineers and marketing people in the vendors, using the market knowledge gained from customers, i.e. end-users, have developed the products that these users wanted, and to a standard that works
in practice, WirelessHART. The experts in the enduser companies have participated, and voted, by investing in testing these WirelessHART products and systems, and then installing them in ever-increasing numbers. Not only is WirelessHART an IEC standard, it is the de facto market standard. ISA100 has to do something positive to gain more than their existing toehold it has in this market, rather than keeping on talking about what happened years ago. A PAS is only the first step, and a very small step, forward. It is time for the ISA to look to the future, and that future might well have been in a back-haul standard. But maybe that is now too late.

Postscript:
The ISA saga continues on the Walt Boyes SoundOff blog, where Walt continues to try to present his logical reasoned views, while not being allowed to quote the critcs from the ISA directly.
Any similar communications or corrections to the INSIDER viewpoint will be published, as they happen, on the INSIDER blog,


Moderate growth for field process instruments

13/01/2011

The worldwide market for Process  Field Instruments will grow at an average annual rate of about 5  percent from 2010 through 2015 according to the most recent forecast update of Process Instrumentation and Automation markets conducted by  the Global Foresight Group™.

Process field instruments include all key pressure, temperature, flow  and level instruments.

In 2010, North America accounted for  approximately 30 percent of the total market demand for process field instruments, while Europe (EU) was 23 percent.  BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) made up another 19 percent of the
demand.  All other countries provided the remainder.

BRIC countries will provide the highest growth rates for these  instruments in the forecast period.  This will continue the decline  of the North American and European market shares.


Stumble into standardisation leads to top award

20/10/2010

Bernard Dumortier on the left receives the Lord Kelvin Award from Jacques Régis, IEC chaiman.

Bernard Dumortier has been awarded the IEC’s Lord Kelvin award, the highest distinction granted by IEC, by Jacques Régis, Président of the IEC. The presentation was made at the gala dinner of the annual meeting of IEC at Seattle (WA US). Lord Kelvin was the first President of the IEC.

Bernard Dumortier has been active in IEC work for over 25 years, starting as a member of the French shadow committee and working as expert in the Fieldbus projects developed within SC65C. He is currently ISA-France Vice-president and secretary and an influential member of the ISA standardisation Board and memeber of several committees.

In 1993, Bernard became the Secretary of the SC65C and took the challenge to finalize the standardization of Fieldbus.  Under his management SC65C successfully standardized the Fieldbus and is now taking a leadership role in Industrial Wireless.

Since 2001 Bernard serves as TC65 Secretary.  He has been instrumental in facilitating the new organization of TC65 with, among other things, the creation of SC65E dedicated to device integration in enterprise systems.
The nomination says “in recognition of his substantial contributions to the IEC in the field of Industrial Automation.  Bernard has displayed skills in managing difficult and controversial negotiations without confrontation, reaching instead agreement with logic, persuasion and inclusion.  Bernard has been a key contributor to the re-organization of the TC65 which now gathers all the worldwide players in the automation fields.”

He stumbled into standardisation a bit by chance he told e-tech’s Philippa Martin King. “Standardization wasn’t a career decision,” he says. “It was my boss’s idea. I’d been working for around 15 years in the company as an engineer and head of the electronics laboratory when one day my boss called me into his office and told me he was sending me out the next day to take part in a special fieldbus project. I wasn’t a fieldbus specialist but he obviously had ulterior motives. They needed someone who spoke English, he told me.”

Standardization role wasn’t a career decision
Dumortier, as his boss had obviously intended, ended up doing quite a bit more than simply attending a meeting about fieldbuses. Almost immediately, he found himself leading a group drafting the FIP (Factory Interface Protocol) specifications for the Eureka Field Bus project, a European umbrella project for technology collaboration, which was itself destined to be included in a standardization process.

Dumortier says the standardization situation for fieldbuses was hazy: “There were two similar regional teams both working on more or less the same projects, and they seemed to have somewhat similar aims. It’s not really surprising perhaps since the Project Leader for both groups, the ISA-S50.02 group and IEC WG (Working Group) 6 of IEC SC (Subcommittee) 65C: Industrial networks, was the same person. ISA (International Society of Automation) used to meet every month and IEC met every three months with the result that each time, the week-long meeting started under one banner and then we switched hats to cover the other project.”

Franco-German confrontation on American soil
Dumortier describes his first international standardization experience: “Progress was hard going because we French with our FIP project were up against the Germans who were defending their own PROFIBUS project. Fortunately, the Americans were there to channel our animosity. It was in that context that I met Tom Phinney, who later became the editor of the mammoth 10 000-page standard we finally produced [with IEC SC 65C]. Today, we can laugh about the first ‘Franco-German war’ to take place on American soil. It was Phinney who coined that phrase. I was able to appreciate not only his qualities as a technician, but also his ability as an excellent strategist. He was just so clairvoyant in his whole approach during that Franco-Germanic standardisation confrontation.”

Paving the way for taking a systems approach
The American intervention finally led to consensus between the two groups with their different allegiances and an agreement to draw up IEC International Standards that took very much a systems approach. The result was a series of (TYPE) protocols and (CPF – Communication Profile Family) profiles in IEC 61158 Industrial communication networks – Fieldbus specifications, and IEC 61784, Industrial communication networks – Profiles, with new editions released in June 2010. They define a set of protocol-specific communication profiles that can be used in the design of devices involved in communications in factory manufacturing and process control, as opposed to being based on a single protocol.

The importance of industry in achieving consensus for standardization
Before that state of consensus could be achieved however, it took a summit meeting with representatives of all the stakeholders gathered together in the office of Anthony Raeburn, IEC General Secretary 1988-1998. The IEC TC 65 officers were present, as was the IEC President of the time, Mathias Fünfschilling (1999-2001), together with representatives of each IEC NC (National Committee) and top management of all the industries concerned. “He told us we needed to come to a mutual agreement”, says Dumortier.

“That’s when you see the importance of industry in these matters,” he says. “It needed technical representation from the companies concerned – and in this particular case we’re talking CEOs, who came accompanied by technical advisors – not political representatives – to come to a mutual agreement on a matter that was entirely technical. We couldn’t have solved the problem satisfactorily between NC representatives. We needed that technical expertise and the involvement of the industry specialists themselves to be able to take a really qualified decision.”

Participation in TC work means working actively
Another important change had also come about when the WG (Working Group) had previously met in Ottawa, Canada. “We needed to redefine various things because we weren’t quite ready to vote on our standardization work,” says Dumortier. “But there was no point in someone giving a negative vote if they didn’t submit any corresponding technical comments. That’s not a valid way of proceeding.”

Dumortier produced some efficient people management skills. He simply told the former Chairman of the SC (Subcommittee) that he wasn’t going to sign the CDV (Committee Draft for Voting) until he had received the relevant comments. “I’m not dogmatic”, he says, “and, even if my own personal choice isn’t what we finally choose, I believe in consensus.” Instead of continuing with the raised-hand voting, he proceeded to summon each member by alphabetical order to obtain their individual vote. “Of course some people weren’t too happy,” he underlines, “but it gave everyone the opportunity to say what they really felt and gradually the situation broadened out to become what it is today: smooth and consensual. Today, we have all these publications to show for it.

“But we’d still never be where we are today if we hadn’t had an editor like Tom Phinney. He’s a major element in the team.”

Today, Phinney is Convenor of TC 65/WG 10: Security for industrial process measurement and control – Network and system security, and TC 65/SC 65C/WG 13: Cyber Security, in addition to eight other member roles in various TC 65 groups and liaison roles with ITU-T /SG 17 and ISO/IEC JTC (Joint Technical Committee) 1/SC 27 for IEC TC 65: Industrial-process measurement, control and automation, and with ISA/SP 99 for IEC SC 65C. [ITU-T stands for the International Telecommunication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector. ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization.]

Another person Dumortier cites as being instrumental in helping the group get the results it did is Graeme G. Wood. He’s on the 2010 list of honours as a recipient of the IEC 1906 award. “Graeme is someone I’d call a true expert”, says Dumortier. “He’s in all the fieldbus committees and is liaison officer with the Joint Working Groups [ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25] and incredibly willing. He has a truly remarkable capacity in a Working Group to take minutes that reflect exactly what happened. If the SC 65C works so well, it’s also thanks to people like Graeme.”

But their first encounters were not so unequivocal. “‘I’ve never met such a silly engineer in all my life.’ That’s what I know Graeme was muttering in his beard – I understood him perfectly,” smiles Dumortier. “I know my English wasn’t precise. But it’s not so easy when you’re not speaking your mother tongue. You don’t weigh the effect of your words in the same way.”

Working in standardization helps understand the competition
However, he soon learnt to appreciate Wood’s expertise. “In our Working Group discussions we were talking about various technologies produced by our various companies. Wood was obviously backing his own. The technology we [the French] were pursuing wasn’t yet finalized but we were quite confident about the developments we’d made until he criticized our messaging system, telling us it was totally inefficient. He’s such an excellent technician and so implicated in technology that he couldn’t help but propose us a new solution. The changes we eventually made didn’t exactly follow what he suggested. They didn’t make good enough use of the protocol. But thanks to his intervention, it opened our eyes to the fact that our company’s messaging system was inefficient and we revised the entire programme. Essentially, he was instrumental in our system changes. That helped the world advance. It also made for a friendship that has never diminished.”

Consensus is what counts
“In standardization you can have some quite heated discussions, but once out of that formal meeting context, you find you have real friends with whom you have a lot in common. That’s when you create the consensus.”

Dumortier cites a third person whom he claims is part of the success of SC 65C. He names Ludwig Winkel, “the person who set off the Ottawa discussions where there was so much hostility”, he adds. “I persuaded Winkel to take on the task of Convenor of SC 65C MT (Maintenance Team) for IEC 61158 and IEC 61784-1 and 2 (Fieldbus). [Winkel is also Convenor of SC 65C/WG 17: Wireless Coexistence]. Winkel is at ease in international meetings and is most competent when it comes to fieldbuses. So he was the perfect choice for the task in managing a multi-protocol standard. In a committee, you can defend your own ideas and interests. Just because a person doesn’t have the same vision as you do doesn’t stop them having clairvoyance and using it for the good of the group. That’s what consensus in international standardization is about.”

Consortia need international recognition
“Why is TC 65 so successful?” says Dumortier. “It’s because all the main actors are present. Industry really has something to gain here. They all sit around the same table. Consortia can’t work on their own. Once they have developed their solutions, they need the seal of approval of an international organization in order to gain international recognition for their standardization work.”

The importance of a non-hierarchical officer status
Returning to the subject of committees and the officers, Dumortier says: “It’s important to underline the importance of the complicity between the roles of Chairman and the Secretary of a TC. As you know, in an IEC TC the two officers are always elected from different countries. That makes for a particular quality in the IEC. If, within a TC there weren’t that relationship with a mixture of cultures and instead, you had officers from the same country, you would likely find a hierarchical relationship. In IEC TCs, that simply doesn’t exist. The Chairman and Secretary have mutual respect for each other. It’s the mixture of cultures that makes the difference.

“There are three such Chairmen I want to mention,” says Dumortier. “First, there’s Otto Ulrichs”, says Dumortier. “That makes two Lord Kelvin Awards for TC 65!” [NB Otto Eberhard Ulrichs, Germany – received the Lord Kelvin Award in 2003]. It’s thanks to Otto Ulrichs”, says Dumortier, “that we were able to set down the basis for the TC 65 strategy. My relationship with Otto had started off on bad terms. There was such mutual hostility between us. It was only once I’d pleaded for help that the original friction turned into a relationship of trustful collaboration which, from that day on, never wavered.

“Later on, I completed that original plan for TC 65 with the present Chairman of TC 65, Roland Heidel. With Roland, we’re very complementary. Our relationship is one of incredible complicity. It has been largely instrumental in giving TC 65 the world leading position it has in industrial automation today.

“Finally,” continues Dumortier, “there’s Tony Capel [Chairman of SC 65C], the person who introduced me to the world of Anglo-Saxon culture, something that can’t be underestimated in standardization. It is he too that backed me in helping us reach consensus. I use him as my sounding board to test out my ideas.

“Over the years, these three people have become real friends. Without them I would never have received the Lord Kelvin Award. I owe them such a lot.”


Stuxnet PLC malware white paper update

15/10/2010

Do you know what's on that USB Stick?

Since mid-July, the team at Byres Security, under Eric Byres, has been working hard on determining exactly what operators of SCADA and industrial control systems can do to protect their facilities from infection from the Stuxnet worm. This worm is both complex and dangerous to all control systems.

As a result, they have massively updated our Stuxnet White Paper Analysis of the Siemens WinCC / PCS7 ‘Stuxnet’ Malware for Industrial Control System Professionals. There is no charge for this white paper, but you must register on the Tofino Security website. The page also has a link to Englobal’s Joel Langill’s Stuxnet Infection Video where he does an excellent job of detailing what exactly Stuxnet is doing to a computer and the Siemens Project files.

In the latest version they have created a detailed list of Prevention/Mitigation techniques you can use to protect computers running both supported Windows operating systems and older unsupported systems that cannot be patched. These mitigations are recommended for all control systems, regardless of whether a Siemens product is used or not.

Other changes in this version of the Stuxnet White Paper include:

• A new summary of what Stuxnet is, what its consequences are, and how it is spreading

• A revision to the list of vulnerable systems

• An expanded analysis of the available Detection and Removal tools

If you are not currently a member of the tofinosecurity.com website, you will be asked to become a member. Membership is free and is required to limit this information to bona fide industrial control and security professionals only.

Eric Byres concludes, “I hope this information will be helpful to you, your organization and the ICS community as a whole.”

We first covered this on 19th July 2010 when we carried Eric’s first notification on this worm in “Security threat to the control system world!“. We followed up with Andrew Bond’s analysis “Zero day” attack on Siemens control system software shows alarming new level of malware sophistication,” in early August and our last posting on the subject was Nick Denbow’s, “Stuxnet – not from a bored schoolboy prankster!” on 21st September 2010. We have also endevoured to add new relevent information and coverage at the bottom of Nick’s article.


Security threat to the control system world!

19/07/2010

" threat to the control system world!"

We became aware of this through Gary Mintchell on twitter on Saturday (17th – “News item says virus exploits Windows hole to get Siemens WinCC”). He had heard of it through news feeds. The following are some links from Gary, Control Global and ComputerWorld. The oldest posts at the bottom. Some of these links carry the same basic information.


Siemens themselves became aware of it on 14th July 2010,

Aktuelle Informationen zur Malware in Verbindung mit Simatic-Software

Current information on malware in connection with Simatic Software

Siemen’s statement (19 Jul 2010)


Control Systems a New “Bull’s-eye” for Hackers (Wes Iverson Automation Week)

Stuxnet Siemens SCADA Worm (Industrial Defender – Findings from the Field)

‘Stuxnet’ Trojan Targets Siemens WinCC
(Control Engineering)

Update on Virus Affecting Simatic WinCC SCADA Systems
(IEB)

Siemens Media Advisory regarding the virus affecting Simatic WinCC SCADA Systems
We Knew It Was Only a Matter of Time
Malware hits Siemens software
(ControlGlobal)

Observations about the Siemens PLC vulnerability
(Discussion on Control Global)

Latest Siemens Statement on Malware
Siemens SCADA Security Byres Response
(Gary Mintchel)

New virus targets industrial secrets
Microsoft confirms ‘nasty’ Windows zero-day bug
(ComputerWorld)

Scada virus
(Chemical Facility Security News)

This morning  (Irish Time – 07.30) the following appeared in the Signpost Mail box. There had been some tweets (notably from Gary Mintchel of Automation World) on this topic over the weekend but this is the first meaty piece about it. We have decided to include the entire text of his email. Text of email from Eric Byres P.Eng., Chief Technology Officer, Byres Security: “I don’t normally send emails about security vulnerabilities or incidents (that is the job of groups like the US CERT), but over the last 72 hours I have become aware of a potentially serious threat to the control system world that might affect your organization. Over the weekend my team has been investigating a new family of threats called Stuxnet that appear to be directed specifically at Siemens WinCC and PCS7 products via a previously unknown Windows vulnerability. (Here is the result of a MS’s Malware Protection Center for the term “Stuxnet”: Ed) At the same time I also became aware of a concerted Denial of Service attack against a number of the SCADA information networks such as SCADASEC and ScadaPerspective mailing lists, knocking at least one of these services off line. Thus, I decided to create this email to let my friends and associates in the process control and SCADA world know what is happening. As best as I can determine, the facts are as follows: This is a zero-day exploit against all versions of Windows including Windows XP SP3, Windows Server 2003 SP 2, Windows Vista SP1 and SP2, Windows Server 2008  and Windows 7.

  • There are no patches available from Microsoft at this time (There are work arounds which I will describe later).
  • This malware is in the wild and probably has been for the past month.
  • The known variations of the malware are specifically directed at Siemens WinCC and PCS7 Products.
  • The malware is propagated via USB key. It may be also be propagated via network shares from other infected computers.
  • Disabling AutoRun DOES NOT HELP! Simply viewing an infected USB using Windows Explorer will infect your computer.
  • The objective of the malware appears to be industrial espionage; i.e. to steal intellectual property from SCADA and process control systems. Specifically, the malware uses the Siemens default password of the MSSQL account WinCCConnect to log into the PCS7/WinCC database and extract process data and possibly HMI screens.

The only known work arounds are:

  • NOT installing any USB keys into any  Windows systems, regardless of the OS patch level or whether AutoRun has been disabled or not
  • Disable the displaying of icons for shortcuts (this involves editing the registry)
  • Disable the WebClient service

My team has attempted to extract and summarize all the relevant data (as of late Saturday night – 17 July 2010) and assemble it in a short white paper called “Analysis of Siemens WinCC/PCS7 Malware Attacks”which I have posted on my website in a secured area that can be accessed from this page. If you would like to down load the white paper, you will need to register on the web site and I will approve your registration as fast as I can. I have chosen to keep the whitepaper in a secure area as I do not want this information to be propagated to individuals that do not need to know and might not have our industries’ best interests at heart. People who are already www.tofinosecurity.com web members do not need to reregister. In closing, I have considered long and hard whether to send this email or not, as I don’t want to fill your Inbox with junk. However I think that this is serious enough to warrant that risk for once. And if you don’t wish to receive emails from me on this sort of topic again (that is, if I ever send them again, which I hope I won’t need to), please click on the unsubscribe link below and it will mark you in my address list as a “do not email”. Feel free to foward this to anyone you feel needs to know this information. In closing I hope this information and our white paper summary of the malware will be helpful to you, your organization and the ICS community as a whole.”