A: SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. SCADA systems are used in utility infrastructures as a computer-based monitoring and control system that centrally collects, displays, and stores information from remotely-located data collection transducers and sensors to support the control of equipment, devices, and automated functions.
Q: What comprises a SCADA system?
A: All hardware and software elements associated with the control and monitoring of a system, including GUIs, databases, sensors, relays, switches, remote telemetry units (RTU), networks, applications, etc.
Q: Where are SCADA systems used?
A: They are used in various applications requiring real-time and near real-time process control, e.g. electric power, oil and gas pipelines, water treatment and distribution, and chemical processing.
Q: Why the sudden concern about SCADA systems?
A: Concerns are based on:
Greater awareness of critical infrastructure issues.
Studies and assessments have found a lack of security in SCADA systems.
More reliance on Internet and COTS software bring in new vulnerabilities.
Increased and validated threat (terrorist, extremists, activists).