Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Collaborate with PTC to Improve Your KEPServerEX V6.5 Security

Posted by Jeff Bates

Today, we announced the release of KEPServerEX version 6.5. 

Featuring significant server updates and a new secure deployment guide, it demonstrates PTC’s commitment to providing our users the technology, tools and resources they need to help improve the security of their systems and the use of our software.

In future posts, I’ll take you on a tour of our new Secure Deployment Guide and other key enhancements made to 32 components, drivers and advanced plug-ins in this release. But today, I’d like to talk to you about security—and the responsibilities we share in securing our industrial networks.

A Changing Threat Landscape

As connectivity between previously-siloed networks grows, it’s more important than ever that organizations secure their Industrial Control Systems (ICS) from malicious attacks—especially ICS systems that connect and control safety critical processes.

Recent attacks on manufacturing facilities and other critical infrastructure show the serious consequences of relying on outdated security methods such as the (largely imagined) air gap and security by obscurity. In addition to damaging effects on revenue, intellectual property and human safety, these breaches also erode trust in the innovative technologies that access and leverage IoT data. With innovation and safety on the line, the risks are too great to ignore. It’s critical that organizations have a strategy for securing and updating ICS components so they can address and mitigate risks appropriately.

Where Do We Begin?

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PTC operates in the same threat landscape as our customers, and we understand the challenge they face. We’re committed to providing our customers the features and tools they need to help improve the security of their software deployment—and its on-going maintenance.

In KEPServerEX version 6.5, we’ve focused our technological efforts on providing:

  • Project file protection to stop attackers from stealing proprietary information during project file transfer
  • Administrator password in install to strengthen security of application-level settings—even before project configuration
  • Back-end security updates that help combat encryption-breaking technology and ensure you have modern security components
  • A limited-time opportunity for customers with valid V5 and V6 licenses to upgrade to version 6.5 for free—including licenses without an active support agreement

We’ve also invested in evaluating the roles and shared responsibilities of our company—and our customers. In Shared Responsibility: IoT Cyber Security & Safety, we introduce a new model that defines a framework for PTC and our customers to work together and help improve the security of deployments.

Written by PTC SVP and CSO Joshua Corman, the white paper identifies the internal and external challenges organizations face in promptly and adequately addressing security issues within this evolving threat landscape. It also explores accountability both across different disciplines and within the entire IoT value chain, reinforcing how everyone needs to do their part to create a secure environment. Finally, it provides best practices:

For those of you who are up to the task but just don’t know where to start, we’ll help get you on the path and race ready:

  • Always update software to the latest release, and deploy patches in a timely manner
  • Ensure system deployments embed security best practices from design to implementation
  • Train your personnel to ensure all critical actions are performed with security and safety in mind
  • Take responsibility, and hold others responsible accountable
  • Challenge/revisit your assumptions…

What’s Next?

With KEPServerEX version 6.5, we’re calling on our customers to take responsibility for the security of the ICS components in their control. 

As PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann states in the foreword, “As we begin this journey, our initial adversaries will include ignorance, inertia, and time. With the convergence of the Physical and Digital realms… nearly everything has changed… which means we, too, must change. Let’s all do our part – starting now.”

Download the Whitepaper