Smart-building controls 'vulnerable' over lifecycle

17 July 2013
By James Hayes
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Intelligent buildings need smart management

IP-based systems in a modern sports stadium

Building systems professionals need to better understand and manage the technological risks posed by intelligent buildings, according to the latest Technical Briefing published by IET Standards.

The report says there is a need for greater awareness of the threats posed by system hacks and the misalignment of enterprise IT and industrial control systems (including building systems) if projects reliant on shared IT infrastructure are to avoid serious operational mishaps.

Developed by a panel of industry experts with the support of the Centre for Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), ‘Resilience and Cyber Security of Technology in the Built Environment’ focuses on the key issues related to an intelligent building’s lifecycle – from concept, construction, fit-out and operation to its eventual decommissioning and demolition, and aims toward developing standards of good practice for their design and operation.

The report includes case studies on intelligent offices, transport terminals, and sports stadiums, looking for example at how vulnerabilities in IP (Internet Protocol)-based building management systems might be exploited by hackers and other malevolent agents.

“Societies are increasingly moving towards the creation of intelligent or ‘smart’ buildings for economic and environmental reasons,” says the report’s author, IET cyber security expert Hugh Boyes. “Additional complexity increases the chances of systems failure which could cause inconvenience, or in some circumstances lead to serious injury and even loss of life.”

Boyes adds: “In terms of cyber security there is increased risk of corruption, or of hackers interfering with the safe and secure operation, and occupancy, of the building.”

‘Resilience and Cyber Security of Technology in the Built Environment’ can be downloaded at www.theiet.org/cyber-buildings-pr

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