Hi, I’m Kevin from A-knowledge and today, I would like to take some time to raise awareness on security of your control system. There are some crawlers out there on the internet that are scanning public IP addresses, 24/7, looking for open ports. As soon as an open port is found, the crawler will try to identify the service available behind this open port. All this information is being gathered in a central database, and made available to users like you and me to just search the database. It’s a search engine for hackers. Google for hackers. An example of such a crawler is called Shodan, and Shodan gives you the possibility to use key words, and to try to find available services on the internet.
Now, the crawler has identified an open port on this public IP address. It even was able to identify the brand and the device from this control system, which is available on the open port. We’re not interested in people with bad intentions using the crawler, finding your device, and connecting to it. They could erase a program, they could reboot device, which causes problems for the owner of the control system. So it’s really interesting and really important to pay attention to authentication. Enable authentication, go for a good username with a good password, to protect your device. Another option is talking to the network admin. He’ll be able to make sure that your devices will not be exposed to the public internet.
Now this raises a very interesting ethical question. Is one able, or is one allowed, to use such a crawler and connect to an unknown device? I’ve found a very interesting example on the internet, saying that you can compare it to one walking down the street, going up to each front door, and just checking if it is locked or not. Now, you will not go in there if it’s unlocked, you’re just interested in that information. So, whatever you do, just make sure that your devices don’t end up on such a crawler, and make sure that nobody is connecting to your system.