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  • Writer's pictureMark van Vuuren

How ISA 62443 protects industrial networks

This post was originally created by the senhasegura team

The constant evolution of technology has enabled a series of innovations in the industrial sector, particularly the use of artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced robotics.

However, these advances have increased the opportunity for cybercriminals to operate, increasing the risk in organizations that do not invest in cybersecurity.

The adoption of standards established in ISA 62443 reduces the risks of cyberattacks, since they ensure the adoption of best practices associated with cybersecurity in industries. In this article, we explain what ISA 62443 is and how it assists in protecting industrial networks. What Is ISA 62443 Due to the evolution of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industrial Control Systems (ICS), more and more industrial and manufacturing devices are being developed. Connected to networks such as the Internet, ICS are favoured by remote management, convergence, and network automation. However, through these networks, malicious agents are able to access the ICS.

As a consequence, there are risks of cyberattacks that can lead to theft of intellectual property, loss of critical services, and damage to the reputation of companies with fines and loss of business.

To provide cybersecurity to the ICS, in 2002, the International Automation Society (ISA) created the ISA99 committee, which set out to develop standards on cybersecurity in this context.

Eight years later, in 2010, the ANSI/ISA-62443 numbering was adopted in order to align ISA99 with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC 62443).

ANSI/ISA-62443 and IEC 62443 are the same. Therefore, industry members often refer to them as a single standard: ISA/IEC 62443. Based on ISA/IEC 62443 standards, we have a structure of security controls created to reduce ICS risks in the face of cyberattacks.

ISA global security specialists work in accordance with standards and technical reports prepared for ISA/IEC 62443. These standards are updated and applied to industrial sectors each time new vulnerabilities arise and can be found in documents that establish ICS security processes. What Is the Importance of ISA 62443 for Industries For some years now, new digital solutions have been driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this sense, smart factories were created from industrial automation, which was possible due to the integration of different technologies, and ISA 62443 establishes the best practices associated with the cybersecurity of industries.

The following innovations present in the industrial sector can be highlighted: Artificial Intelligence

This concept is based on machines capable of simulating human intelligence, relying on algorithms, learning systems, artificial neural networks, and other capabilities, presenting skills such as reasoning and decision-making.


In this case, we refer to technologies that guarantee efficiency to production processes impacting the development of products and business models, as it contemplates the design and implementation of digitization, sensing, acquisition, and data processing plan. In practice, Industry 4.0 can be applied to segments such as healthcare, transportation, logistics, construction, oil and gas, mining, utilities, energy, and manufacturing. As they apply the concepts of Industry 4.0 to get ahead of the competition, organizations may realize it is critical to optimize the management of Operational Technology in order to reduce cyber threats in industrial processes.

Therefore, some guidelines are introduced in order to protect industries from cyberattacks. Among these measures, we can highlight the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, the CIS Security Controls, and the set of ISA 62443 standards. Big Data

Big data is an approach that makes it possible to handle data that arrives in great variety, volume, and speed, which is used to solve problems. Traditional software is not able to operate these data sets, so one must rely on machine services and statistical techniques to extract information and trends that are beyond the human assessment capacity. Cybersecurity

Here we refer to the software and hardware infrastructures used to protect information assets, dealing with threats that endanger information stored, transported, and processed by interconnected systems. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing, in turn, has brought flexibility, savings, and scalability to businesses as it provides computing services such as storage, servers, network, software, database, analysis, and intelligence over the Internet, generating efficiency and reducing operating costs. Internet of Things

Internet of Things refers to the possibility of connecting objects used in people’s daily lives to the Internet, collecting and transmitting data through the cloud. This concept can be applied both in the domestic and the organizational contexts, also considering the Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT. Advanced Robotics

It refers to devices that work autonomously, interacting with their environment or people. Its behavior can be modified from sensor data. Systems Integration

Different computing systems operate in a coordinated manner, which enables the exchange of information between them. Thus, organizations can gain a comprehensive perception of their business. Systems integration also influences decision-making with real-time information. Digital Manufacturing

Integrated computer-based systems that allow one to create manufacturing and product process definitions at the same time through simulations, 3D visualizations, and analytics. Additive Manufacturing

Production of items from a digital design and overlap of thin layers of products such as plastic, ceramics, sand, metal alloys, and metal. This work is made possible using a 3D printer. Simulation Systems

Use of techniques and computers that allow simulating real-world processes through digital models. Legacy Devices

Much of the equipment used in the industrial sector is very old, after all, many factories have existed for a long time and have not renewed their machines. This factor may prevent the deployment of security systems.

To solve this issue, it is necessary to replace old plants with newer ones or apply modern protection around old processes, without changing the systems. We believe companies should consider the constant updating of their equipment since the technology evolves day by day, providing opportunities for the practice of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.

Moreover, organizations that rely on innovation ensure some benefits, not just protection, but also quality, productivity, and competitiveness. Lack of Skilled Labour

Currently, there are few professionals specialized in industrial cybersecurity, which becomes another challenge faced by the sector. However, the most recommended advice is to hire the services of a specialized company, which has trained professionals to meet the demands of the company. Lack of Investment

In general, investment in factories is still low. Leaders understand it is necessary to invest in cybersecurity, but this is not put into practice in most organizations yet. Often, the lack of investment is because entrepreneurs do not know how to implement cybersecurity in their industries. For this, one must have a specialized company that recognizes the particular needs of the organization and proposes the best solutions. About ISA Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation (ISA) is a professional non-profit association, which aims to connect the automation community, increasing its technical competence and boosting careers. The standards developed by ISA are used on a large scale, and the entity:

  • Offers training;

  • Certifies professionals;

  • Publishes books and technical articles;

  • Hosts conferences and exhibitions; and

  • Offers networking programs to its members.

One of ISA’s important initiatives was the creation of the ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance, which promotes cybersecurity awareness and brings together interested organizations to proactively address growing cyber threats. ISA also owns, which produces content related to automation, and sponsors The Automation Federation, an entity that represents “The Voice of Automation”. It is also responsible for the ISA Security Compliance Institute and the ISA Wireless Compliance Institute. About senhasegura Senhasegura is part of MT4 Tecnologia, a group of companies focused on information security founded in 2001 and operating in more than 50 countries. Its main objective is to ensure digital sovereignty and security for its clients, granting control over privileged actions and data and avoiding theft and leaks of information. For this, it follows the lifecycle of privileged access management through machine automation, before, during, and after accesses. senhasegura also seeks to:

  • Avoid interruptions in the activities of companies, which may impair their performance;

  • Automatically audit the use of privileges;

  • Automatically audit privileged changes in order to identify privilege abuses;

  • Provide advanced PAM solutions;

  • Reduce cyber risks;

  • Bring organizations into compliance with audit criteria and standards such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, and Sarbanes-Oxley.

To comply with ISA 62443 standards, it is necessary to implement Privileged Access Management (PAM), enabling the controlled use of administrative privileges. The ISA 62443-2-1:2009 standard control system refers to access accounts and authorization policy implementation. This means access privileges implemented for access accounts must be established in accordance with the organization’s security and authorization policy.

Through the operations of senhasegura, one can define and reinforce security and authorization policies in various industrial systems.

The control system associated with ISA 62443-3-3:2013 is related to human user authentication and identification. It must offer the capability of reinforcing such identification and authentication on all interfaces that provide human user access to a control system to support segregation of roles and least privilege, in accordance with application security policies and procedures.

senhasegura makes it possible to grant or revoke privileges to specific users, ensuring each user has the least privilege, according to the organization’s security policy.

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