Q: What is SCADA?

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).