The Case for Penetration Testing in ICS Environments

by Krish Sridhar, P.E, GSEC, MBA

Rising awareness of securing industrial control systems (ICS) and focus of organizations to roll out ICS
cybersecurity programs have prompted a fresh look at the applicability and benefits of penetration (pen)
testing. A well designed pen testing project in a controlled environment provides insights and in‐depth
findings that cannot be otherwise obtained from traditional risk assessments alone. It complements risk
based assessment by taking a deeper look at critical zones and conduits that were identified during the
assessment. The results and recommendations help generate cybersecurity requirements specifications
and drive standardization of security measures across multiple plants within an organization. This paper
highlights the benefits of pen testing in an ICS environment and offers guidelines to design and conduct
a pen testing project.

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