Global engineering and construction giant Bechtel has opened a new cyber security lab aimed at protecting industrial equipment and software that control facilities such as power plants, chemical plants, and other large-scale critical infrastructure operations.
With the goal of protecting industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems from cyber threats, Bechtel says the lab will leverage its experience designing and implementing National Institute of Standards and Technology Risk Management Framework (NIST-RMF) solutions for its government customers.
“The ability to access and control these systems over the Internet, while increasing efficiency, has also exposed some vulnerabilities. There is a dark side to the Internet of Things,” said Chad Hartman, program director in Bechtel’s government services business. “By using innovative solutions, this lab will give us the ability to test and secure critical systems in a safe environment, which translates into more secure, and resilient equipment for our customers.”
Bechtel also announced that it has entered into a research arrangement with George Mason University to provide Mason students with access to the lab.
“These partnerships are critical for universities and for companies,” said Robert Osgood, director of Mason’s Computer Forensics program and a former FBI supervisory special agent in cyber-crime and counterterrorism. “The laboratory will provide research and internship opportunities for our students and open up a potential talent pipeline for Bechtel in a rapidly growing field.”
“Whether we are talking about control systems or telecommunications infrastructure, there is a real need to develop innovative solutions that address the current world environment,” said Patrick Fredericks, program manager for the Strategic Infrastructure Group (SIG) for Bechtel. “The merging of technology in both of these areas requires a new approach that supports global deployment of integrated technology solutions on a large scale, while also addressing the threats that we see now and in the future.”
Founded in 1898, Bechtel operates through four global businesses: Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; Oil, Gas & Chemicals; and Mining & Metals.