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Joseph Weiss's picture
Managing Partner Applied Control Solutions

40+ years in industrial instrumentation controls, and automation 20+ years in cyber security of industrial control systems Authored Protecting Industrial Control Systems from Electronic Threats...

  • Member since 2020
  • 56 items added with 41,913 views
  • Jun 22, 2022

On June 8, 2022 an explosion occurred at the Freeport, TX LNG facility. Apparently, one of the facility's LNG transfer lines was over pressurized and ruptured. The Freeport LNG explosion could have simply been the result of unintentional system or personnel problems as that facility did not have a stellar safety record. But this wasn’t the only LNG facility to have a control system-related event. The explosion could have also been the result of malicious cyber-related issues as sophisticated attackers can make a cyberattack look like equipment malfunctions There are several cyber-related issues that could have led to the Freeport LNG overpressure event including process sensor issues, controller issues, or final element (valve) issues. Such failures could have been either accidental or the result of sabotage. The Freeport LNG plant comprises more than 15% of U.S. LNG export capacity. Freeport LNG said it doesn’t expect to be fully operational again until “late 2022”, worsening the outlook for European buyers seeking to replace Russian energy imports. Given there is no cyber security in the process sensors and actuators and Russia has a history of cyber attacking critical infrastructure, could this have been a cyberattack? CISA and DOE continue sending out warnings about potential Russian cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. Maybe the Russians are already here – with the June Freeport LNG explosion, the February 21, 2022, Marathon refinery explosion (the same day the US imposed sanctions on Russia), 34 food process plant fires since 4/30/21, and loss of view or control for more than 30 minutes of 150 control center SCADA systems since 2018. DOE and CISA - you can’t find what you’re not looking for.


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