Installing a communications gateway to enhance pipeline cybersecurity
Enhancing the cybersecurity of a pipeline system by installing and configuring a communications gateway that mitigates the risk of security breaches from hackers to a communications interface between a pipeline operator and their customer’s terminal..
- Increase cybersecurity of critical infrastructure
- Decreased system vulnerability to hackers
- Reduced risk of downtime related to security breaches
- Automated interface between the client’s SCADA and PLC systems and their customer’s terminal control system
Pipeline operators and their customers each have separate computer systems and controls that need to “talk” to each other to ensure safe delivery of product to tank farms, other pipelines, terminals, and, ultimately, consumers. To operate safely, it is crucial for both parties to see the others’ information about facility conditions, including tank levels, operating pressures, and the statuses of pumps and valves. However, any communication between separate computer systems requires a common language across platforms as well as a common space for data and command storage. Linking networks together can open both parties to the cybersecurity risk of infiltration by bad actors attempting to disrupt pipeline operations.
In 2019, a major liquids pipeline operator was in need of an upgrade to their communications link with a customer terminal. This particular interface was going to be more complex than typical due to a requirement for two gateways (one for the pipeline operator and one for the customer terminal) instead of just one, with the addition of the second unit intended to increase the security of the interface.
With over 30 years of experience in equipment interfacing using Modbus and other Industry standard communications protocols, HT Engineering was able to assist with the setup and configuration of both gateways. After the equipment was installed, we helped successfully test and commission the system. The result is a more secure system for both the critical infrastructure pipeline operator and their customer.