What is SCADA and how does it affect me? SCADA is an acronym for
Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. SCADA is one of two primary types of process control systems that is used to collect sensor measurements and operational data from remote field units. The data is then processed to determine if the values are within the specified tolerances and to make corrections, if needed, to maintain stability and control. SCADA systems are used to manage critical infrastructure functions such as the transmission and distribution of electricity, pressure and proper flow of gas pipelines, monitor water quality characteristics, safely operate chemical production facilities, and control transportation systems, and others. (Dacey,10) We rely on these systems being functional and always available and undergo hardship when something goes wrong. Improper operation or loss of SCADA systems could lead to a “loss of reputation, environmental impacts, production and financial loss and even human injury.” (Myths and Facts, 5) Therefore it is vitally important for us to examine the threats and vulnerabilities to our SCADA systems and ascertain what steps need to be taken to secure these control systems that we’ve all come to depend on.
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