Siemens process controls

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Og brings up something that was true in the day that I worked with Siemens equipment and apparently is still true. The key element that made it so very vulnerable to the Stuxnet and why, for all of its shoddy performance and security, Siemens is still a major player in the world of industrial controls. From Neanderpundit:
Stuxnet
Frank James links to a Hot Air piece about Stuxnet.

I have had a certain amount of personal, firsthand experience with Siemens controls, and I can tell you with some level of confidence, that the sooner Siemens and it�s subsidiaries and everyone who works there are parked, safely rotting away in the 8th circle of hell (they can occupy most of the malebolge) the better this planet is going to be.

With zero exception, every piece of equipment I have ever worked on, serviced, or installed has been a cluster of biblical proportions. All around the world, Siemens has used criminal methods to buy increasing market share and edge out competition. The product is unreliable and second rate, but they have a lock on a couple of key pieces of manufacturing technology that others cannot legally emulate; not that the legality would stop them, should the shoe been on the other foot.
Much more of the story at Neanderpundit. My experience was with one system that controlled the HVAC systems for a particularly sensitive room and it would fail at the drop of a hat. Nothing malicious was being done, the software would just crash at least once/month and this was a room with a lot of dedicated servers and ancillary electronics. Thirty minutes after the cooling failed, the temperature was over 80 degrees. A few hours and it was over one hundred and systems were dying. The kicker is that this was in a large building and the HVAC was monitored 24/7 -- the fscking software would not flag an alert, it would just quietly die and not let anyone know about it. Fine during the day as people would notice that it was getting a bit stuffy but not so good at night when I would come in the next morning to find $10K or so of repairs (hard drives and power supplies mostly) waiting for me as well as having to re-schedule the software runs. After a couple months of this, I installed a bunch of temperature sensors tied to a monitor that would email the HVAC people as well as my cell phone whenever it got above 70 degrees. I was there for two more years and still had problems. There were some software and system updates that mitigated a lot of the issues but the initial system was never ever ready for prime-time.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on November 28, 2010 10:44 PM.

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