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AFCEA International Chapter News
HUNTSVILLE CHAPTER CHAPTER - Jul 01, 2014
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Dr. Vaughn Discusses SCADA

Dr. Ray Vaughn, vice president of research for the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), served as guest speaker for the chapter's July luncheon. Dr. Vaughn is a retired Army colonel and former vice president of Defense Information Systems Agency Integration services. Dr. Vaughn received his Ph.D. in computer science from Kansas State University in 1988. He has since been credited with more than 100 publications, been named Most Outstanding Faculty member at Mississippi State University (MSU), and recently settled in his post at UAH. Dr. Vaughn presented the luncheon crowd with an eye-opening discussion about Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) technology, threats and the current state of the infrastructure in the United States. SCADA systems are a type of industrial control system and often are found in industrial (manufacturing) or infrastructure (electrical power transmission and oil and gas pipelines) processes. Dr. Vaughn explained that most SCADA systems are more than 10 years old; contain many vulnerabilities; and do not have many security tools available. A major contributor to the lack of tools is the proprietary protocols they utilize. As an example, Dr. Vaughn offered the story of Ghost Exodus. Ghost Exodus, also known as Jesse McGraw, was a 26-year-old security guard at the Northern Central Medical Plaza in Dallas. McGraw uploaded a YouTube video of himself staging an infiltration at the medical center. He installed remote control software on several workstations as well as the center’s HVAC system. Control of the HVAC system could negatively impact surgeries or compromise drugs or medicines that require a constant temperature. A researcher for Dr. Vaughn at MSU, Wesley McGrew, reported McGraw’s activities to the FBI after observing screen shots of the infiltration online. McGraw’s online resume included his hacker handle Ghost Exodus, so tracking him down proved to be easier than one would initially think. Dr. Vaughn also explained that more than 90 percent of the port scans for SCADA systems originate from China. The good news is that some security providers are beginning to invest more in security tools for SCADA systems. And for his part, Dr. Vaughn has set up a miniaturized fully functional SCADA lab at UAH. A central purpose of the SCADA lab is to enable government and industry leadership to visualize the effect of compromised SCADA systems. Once seen, the belief is that both public and private industry leadership will allocate the necessary resources to pursue a solution to the current SCADA security threat.

Event Photographs:

Dr. Ray Vaughn, vice president of research for the University of Alabama in Huntsville addresses the chapter in July.
Dr. Ray Vaughn, vice president of research for the University of Alabama in Huntsville addresses the chapter in July.
Jayana Lewis (r) is presented a $1000 scholarship by Bruce Shaw, chapter scholarship director, in July.
Jayana Lewis (r) is presented a $1000 scholarship by Bruce Shaw, chapter scholarship director, in July.

For more details regarding this event contact:
wesley slone
2565411302

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