Episode 124: How to think about cybersecurity in old-line industries

In this week’s show, we issue a major correction owing to my lack of pop culture information, discuss a fully automated T-shirt factory and wonder why we don’t have more exciting news from the world of energy harvesting technology. On the smart home front, Kevin and I rethink our aversion to Apple’s HomeKit, discuss Google Home’s preview program and the potential for the Amazon Echo to offer multi-room audio. Finally, I talk about the gadget I’ve been waiting for for the last 18 months. No, it’s not the refrigerated crock pot.

This music player puts my Spotify playlists on an iPod shuffle-like device.

For those that want to experience a chill, stick around for Mike Spear, the ?Global Operations Manager, Industrial Cyber Security at ?Honeywell Process Solutions. He discusses everything from the differences in securing oil refiners and paper-making plants to how to train IT folks to think like a manufacturing security expert. We also revisit Petya and dig into who should pay for securing plants when compromising them doesn’t necessarily hurt the company’s bottom line, but might hurt the environment or national security. Enjoy the show!

Hosts: Stacey Higginbotham and Kevin Tofel
Guest: Mike Spear of Honeywell Process Solutions
Sponsors: HiQo Solutions and Eero

  • I can’t believe how many T-shirts this factory makes
  • HomeKit breaks Apple’s historical model and that’s okay
  • The Mighty player rocks!
  • How to train an IT security expert for manufacturing security
  • Which countries are creating good cyber risk regulations?

Published by

Stacey Higginbotham

I am a journalist who has covered technology for over a decade at publications such as Fortune, PCMag, Gigaom, The Deal and BusinessWeek.

One thought on “Episode 124: How to think about cybersecurity in old-line industries”

  1. Hi Stacey,

    Regular listener, trying to catch up on shows I missed.

    I know this is an old podcast, but you and Kevin briefly discussed wired versus wireless in homes. Here’s my take…

    I think most home users will be served reasonably well by good, well-planned wireless systems. The main reason being that their usage is almost all through their Internet connection and hence they’re typically more constrained by that pipe than what can be done over say 802.3ac Wave2. For now.

    However, there’s a class of us (and you might be in this group) that have more infrastructure at home than your average household. Whether it’s because we work from home, like having a bunch of our media centralized, or are just enthusiasts. Or we’re paranoid about security and try to keep our WiFi usage minimal out of security concerns (and paranoia is not unwarranted here). For these users, wired is a much better option. For example, if you use a NAS to store local backups, media, etc. then you’ll likely benefit considerably from wired infrastructure. And I hate to be the bearer of the message you’ve likely heard from others, but we’re not that far away from where copper is unrealistic in a typical multi-bedroom home (say 1500+ sq. ft.). I have a decent amount of legacy cat5 and cat5e at home, some cat6, and now quite a bit of shielded cat6a (for 10 gigabit). I also have some fiber and plans for more. The problem with copper is that even at 10 gigabit it’s not great due to power consumption and electromagnetic interference (EMI) issues. And shielded cat6a cables (to help avoid the EMI issues) are fairly large. Worse, we’re not going to see more than 10 gigabit on copper in homes; the range is too short and cat8 cables are monstrosities. So those of us planning for the days beyond 10 gigabit on our home networks are running fiber. And that’s what I recommend for those building homes today. Yes, run copper because it’s going to be with us for a long while. PoE alone will make it useful for a long time, and a whole slew of devices will not need more than 1 gigabit for the foreseeable future. But I’ve been advising new home builders to run conduit and OM4 or OM5 fiber to rooms where they expect to plant a PC, entertainment system or NAS. Dens/offices, family rooms, home theaters, and maybe the master bedroom. And of course all back to a patch panel somewhere. That fiber might sit dark for a good while, but the day you want 10 gigabit to that room, you’ll be glad it’s there. Fortunately the fiber itself is cheap, in fact it’s generally cheaper than quality shielded cat6a (or cat7 or cat8).

    Do I need 10 gigabit for a typical IoT device? Or my AppleTV/Roku/etc.? Absolutely not. And odds are good that I’ll need PoE to many devices for as long as I can imagine, so copper will be here to stay for a long while (IP cameras, WiFi access points, etc.). So I think what we’re going to see in the next 10 years in connected homes is a mix of copper and fiber. Most won’t need the fiber, but those of us that need to move big pieces of data on our local network will need it. It’s already easy to saturate a 10 gigabit link with PCI-based SSD; I saturate mine when transferring a movie from my NAS to my desktop or vice versa. And SSD keeps getting faster (it wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t have NVME and M.2), and I’m already trying to figure out what will be feasible at home for beyond 10 gigabit. It’s hazy but I’m betting on SWDM over an OM5 fiber pair at the moment which will allow 100 gigabit, versus 12-fiber MTP for 40 gigabit or 24-fiber MTP for 100 gigabit. This stuff is driven by the mega data centers right now and for the near future, but 10 gigabit is now coming into consumer space and it’s only a matter of time before higher bandwidth stuff becomes attainable for consumers.

    Oh, if you’re sort of anti-wireless but need it and are unhappy with what you have… I’ve been slowly migrating to per-room wireless in some rooms and I’m really thrilled I went this route. I’m using the Ubiquiti In-Wall AC Pro units. When I’m in the master bedroom or home office with my laptop, it’s so nice to not be battling with devices in other rooms for wireless bandwidth. If you have a spot in your home where you’d really like better WiFi, you might try one since you already have cat6 jacks (from what you said in the show). You won’t lose your jack, the Ubiquiti units have a small gigabit ethernet switch built in (2 ports, one with PoE out). In my experience, this works MUCH better than Eero or other mesh solutions for getting good WiFi throughout a home that is already wired for gigabit ethernet.

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