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By Gregory Hale
The manufacturing automation industry has to take cyber security more seriously than it currently does.

“I really hope it doesn’t take a major incident to have the industry take security more seriously than it currently does,” said Darius Adamczyk, president and chief executive at Honeywell Process Solutions during his keynote address today at the EMEA Honeywell User Group (HUG) in Nice, France. “I hope this doesn’t happen to me is not a viable defense.”

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The idea the industry is aware they need to understand cyber security, but doesn’t know where to start is not surprising – and believe it or not it is a sign of moving forward. It is a slow movement, but it is movement nonetheless.

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Adamczyk quoted Former Homeland Security Department Director Michael Chertoff, who spoke at an executive summit Honeywell conducted last month, saying “The single biggest threat we face is not terrorist activity, it is cyber security.”

“Cyber security is one of the most interesting areas and one we don’t take seriously enough,” he said.

Adamczyk also talked about how security can be a safety issue also.

“Safety is the single most important thing we do, whether providing safety for the process or preventing intruders on the site, cyber security is another part of safety.”

Adamczyk also talked about other initiatives and industry trends in the industry.

In terms of energy production, he said we are going through transformational times.

There has been a spike in production in the U.S. with unconventional energy. In addition, he said the North Sea is declining in production, but with some new innovations he said there could be a rebound.

In terms of regions producing energy, he said Western Europe closed 14 refineries since 2008. He said the former Soviet Union saw an increase in capacity. Middle East saw a substantial increase in capacity and national oil companies are getting more aggressive in investments. “There has been quite a change in who is making the investments.”

Mining is going through a rough time and the main reason for that is the slowdown in China. Pulp and paper, he said, has some interesting developments going on with negative growth rates predicted for North America, Western Europe and Japan, but positive growth rates in India and China.

Safety, just looking at some UK numbers which Adamczyk said is a good indicator, “safety is improving; fatalities have dropped. That is the good news. The bad news is safety has plateaued and that is a troubling trend.”

When talking about safety, the number one cause of safety incidents is operator error, Adamczyk said. That is where training and simulation programs come into play.

“It is paramount to us to provide a safe work environment,” he said.

There is one fundamental difference between safety and security and that is users can place a safety system in and know it will be working over a period of time. Yes, there has to be maintenance, but the system will be in and running. Security, though, is a very dynamic environment.

“Cyber threats change daily, monthly, and yearly,” Adamczyk said. “If you think you can put something in and you will be safe, think again.”

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