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The Process Safety Case for Automation Cybersecurity

Originally delivered Sep 4, 2019
Source: AIChE
  • Type:
    Archived Webinar
  • Level:
  • Duration:
    1 hour
  • PDHs:

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Cybersecurity exposure is continually growing for Industrial Automation Control Systems (IACS), and understanding the impact of cybersecurity threats is a fundamental part of managing process safety risk. This webinar will provide the necessary foundation for understanding and mitigating cybersecurity risk to improve safety and security in a meaningful way.

Case studies from the Sadara Petrochemical facility and “NotPetya” wiper worm will be evaluated to provide real world examples of the consequences of cyber-attacks on IACS. In addition to having the ability to cause harm in the physical world, cyber-attacks on IACS are particularly problematic because traditional methods for safeguarding equipment are not always effective. The same attack may be not only the initiating event of a process upset due to modification of the Basic Process Control System (BPCS) but also cause the Safety Instrumented System (SIS) meant to provide protection to fail as well. As such, engineered cyber-attacks represent a potential common cause failure source for multiple independent protection layers. An in-depth analysis of how this common cause failure can lead to unmitigated risk will be performed to demonstrate the impact of a cyber-attack on existing safeguards.

Lastly, actionable steps for reducing cybersecurity exposure and improving IACS system resiliency to cyber-attack will be presented as means for mitigating identified cybersecurity risk.

You Will Learn:

  • How cybersecurity impacts process safety
  • How cyber-attacks can lead to the common cause failure
  • The current cyber-threat environment
  • The potential consequences of a cybersecurity attack on an IACS
  • Actionable steps for improving cybersecurity


Patrick O'Brien

Patrick O’Brien has three years of experience as a Safety and Cybersecurity Engineer at exida, LLC where he leads a variety of functional safety and cybersecurity consulting services and training courses for end user industrial facilities. He specializes in gap analysis and risk assessment techniques as well as subsequent safety/cybersecurity lifecycle tasks. Patrick has completed multiple PHAs, LOPAs, cybersecurity risk assessments and subsequent lifecycle activities for different industry applications including oil and gas, specialty chemical, machinery, and robotics.

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