Successfully managing large and complex integration projects is a focus for Polytron Inc., and the company is looking to continue to grow the digital manufacturing presence. Ron Rich, CEO of Polytron. discusses his company’s philosophy and its approach to innovation in an interview with CFE Media.
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On the plant floor, malicious code can easily shutdown production or threaten the safety of your operation. Learn some valuable protection tips from the United States Computer Readiness Emergency Team (US-CERT).
What is malicious code?
Malicious code is unwanted files or programs that can cause harm to a computer or compromise data stored on a computer. Various classifications of malicious code include viruses, worms, and Trojan horses.
- Viruses have the ability to damage or destroy files on a computer system and are spread by sharing an already infected removable media, opening malicious email attachments, and visiting malicious web pages.
- Worms are a type of virus that self-propagates from computer to computer. Its functionality is to use all of your computer’s resources, which can cause your computer to stop responding.
- Trojan Horses are computer programs that are hiding a virus or a potentially damaging program. It is not uncommon that free software contains a Trojan horse making a user think they are using legitimate software, instead the program is performing malicious actions on your computer.
PROBLEM: On Friday May 12th a ransomware program called WannaCry infected more than 230,000 computers around the world. This program began as a phishing attack and installed itself on computers when a user opened an email attachment. The program then made use of Windows vulnerabilities in all versions of Windows. This vulnerability makes it possible for this malware to infect every unpatched Windows machine on the same local network as the infected computer. Microsoft had previously issued security updates back in March to close this vulnerability. The security update was not issued for Windows XP. Any computers not patched with the March security update are still vulnerable.A security researcher was able to stop the spread of this ransomware program on Friday, but there are reports that other variants of this program are now being distributed without the kill switch that the security researcher used.
Manufacturers should be specially aware of this avenue of attack as there are many industrial networks that still have computers running Windows XP. Many industrial networks have no internet connection, so even currently supported versions of Windows cannot receive updates. As an example, if a technician has a computer attached to the local industrial network, and also connects to the Internet to assist in troubleshooting, every unpatched computer on the industrial network is at risk from new variants of this attack. If the technician’s computer becomes infected while connected to the industrial network, the HMIs, Historians, Servers, etc. could be encrypted and held for ransom.
RECOMMENDED SOLUTION: After the WannaCry ransomware was discovered on Friday, Microsoft released manual patches for every version of Windows from XP forward. Polytron recommends that manufacturers assess if their current software applications are compatible with the latest Microsoft patches and apply patches accordingly. If there are reasons that the patch cannot be installed on a particular computer, other methods of ensuring availability of that computer, such as complete backups, should be evaluated.
Microsoft has patches available to block WannaCry Ransomware for Windows XP and later.
- The patches for Vista and later are located at: https//technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/mi17-010.aspx
- The patches for Windows XP are located in a Microsoft Blog Post: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/msrc/2017/05/12/customer-guidance-for-wannacrypt-attacks/
QUESTIONS: Call Polytron Toll-free 1-855-794-7659
Duluth, Georgia – January, 2017 – Polytron, Inc. was selected by Cisco’s Digital Transformation Group to be one of the first in its new Digital System Integrator Pilot Program.
Polytron, Inc. is a holistic Digital Solution provider – a Consulting and Engineering firm for manufacturers (not just a systems integrator) coming alongside its customers with full manufacturing systems and solutions for the Digital Transformation journey. Polytron understands that Smart Manufacturing is changing the way manufacturers strategically operate and is unique in its approach that addresses the culture change with a focus on its customers’ people Connecting Process – People – Performance.
“The Cisco Digital System Integrator Program is a natural fit for Polytron,” says Robin Cobb, PE, PMP, Manager, Industrial Network and Security Solutions (INSS) group. “We have been delivering innovative digital transformation engineering to our customers for many years enabling greater connectivity across the plant floor and connecting to the Enterprise level.”
Polytron’s certified expertise in the industry’s best-in-breed technologies allows the Digital System Integrator to leverage the best technology solutions for the customer to meet its long- and short -term business objectives.
Unlike other firms, Polytron’s Workforce Development and Training Group focuses on the people side of the digital journey. With today’s multigenerational workforce, developing a data-driven mindset for consistent operational efficiency requires standardized processes, new skill sets, a new way of communicating on the plant floor, and understanding manufacturing data delivered to the right person at the right time and the right place for actionable results.
“Polytron’s collaborative relationship with Cisco’s Digital Transformation Group will allow us to better support the customer’s whole business with Smart Manufacturing Solutions ̶ from the plant floor to the business enterprise,” says Polytron vice president Brent Stromwall. “We are proud to have been selected as one of the first integrators to participate in the Digital System Integrator Program.”
Polytron, Inc – Industrial Networks and Security Solutions (INSS): Developing a robust and secure network infrastructure requires protecting the integrity, availability and confidentiality of control and information data. Polytron’s approach to industrial network convergence applies a design methodology for network requirements to develop a physical framework to align with and support the customer’s logical framework. From Network Audit to definition and design, through Implementation and Validation, our roadmap ensures secure, standardized, and consistent network integration to enable plant wide information sharing. Polytron is a certified solution partner with other technology solution providers for Industrial Network Solutions and Security. Our technology relationships allow us to deliver the right solution to meet our clients’ specific needs. Our engineers are Cisco CCNA certified and we also have ISA99 Cybersecurity Fundamentals Specialist on staff.
Polytron predicts that this year will be focused on the trends that begin the journey of digital transformation in manufacturing. It is an approach that is holistic in nature – viewing the plant floor as one living. breathing entity. It is a manufacturing environment where everything is part of a digital thread, or the interwoven data stream from supply chain to warehousing and the consumer. Delivering full visibility into every facet and action of production to allow companies to be more competitive, agile and flexible moving with the quickly changing markets and speed of technology evolution. Manufacturers’ success over the coming years will be comprised of connected, data-driven processes that combine innovative automation, interactive connectivity, sensing and control, with a transformed workforce.
Digital Transformation: Smart Manufacturing, IIoT, Manufacturing 4.0, Industry 4.0 – all of these labels represent the era of manufacturing run by smart fully-integrated devices/technology, and wireless access to the operation for fast data-driven decisions. It is a time where the technologies and tools do not dictate operations in the plant – but support the vision of plant. It is a time for increased OEE, consistency and predictive action – knowing something requires attention before it goes wrong.
It is a year of partnering with a vendor who can support your digital transformation journey with the seamless digital thread to connect the whole plant enterprise with no independent point solutions – and the ability to grow with your journey.
Digital Transformation of the Workforce: The evolution of the digitally transformed plant floor requires that the workforce evolves as well. It is the alignment of long- and short-term strategic objectives and the key stakeholders. It requires focused education and communication. This is a year of bringing the workforce together with standard operating procedures and KPIs for consistency in operational delivery. It is a time for skills gap assessment to develop efficient training programs to align workers with the technical requirements of a data-driven plant floor. It is all about creating a Digital Work Culture.
Getting Started on Your Digital Transformation Journey:
- Align key stakeholders with strategic long- and short-term objectives. This includes operations, maintenance, IT/OT, supply chain, warehouse
- Conduct a comprehensive vendor review to ensure you have the appropriate integration experts to support your journey – a vendor who truly understands the digital thread in manufacturing
- Develop a Digital Transformation Roadmap. How to Start – How to keep going – How to measure success
- Think BIG – Start SMALL – Scale RAPIDLY. Plan a phased approach for quick wins and successes across a single or multiple sites.
Start today – the clock is ticking
InTech Magazine, November/December 2016
A global beverage manufacturing was having network performance and communication disruptions between factory floor assets.
Read how Polytron upgraded the Industrial Network. The updated network provided the desired performance results and delivered a system that is secure, sustainable, and scalable—eliminating network-related production downtime. The updated network also increased the plant’s networking support structure and ease of maintenance, and introduced new technologies that can be used in future plant projects. Read the full article here.