Recent Factory Automation News for July 19, 2023

, by Jim Ryan, 1 min reading time

Mandiant reported yesterday that Chinese cyber espionage techniques have evolved to make better use of network, security, and virtualization software, as well as IoT devices and smart devices, to create botnets that produce a smokescreen of network traffic that makes it hard to detect the presence of the hacker's own activities on the victim machines. Anna Ribeiro has more. This is a factory automation news item because manufacturers are the primary target of ransomeware now, and, while that is not the same as Chinese cyber espionage attacks, spies targeting manufacturers, too. Moreover, the point is the technology: the vulnerability of any industrial operational technology (OT) that has network exposure. OT systems tend to have architectures of a certain kind to which cyber attackers are nowadays able to tailor their malware and methods. OT includes industrial control systems (IC), supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA), and these latter include PLCs and discrete process control systems (DPC). More on those categories here. The attacks are largely ransomeware attacks, but also state-sponsored hackers have been able to sieze control of the machines remotely. There is more on what some manufacturers are doing about the problem here, here, and here.

On a related note, Anna Ribeiro also reports that the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee are trying to get the FCC's "rip and replace" program funded. The program would pay communications companies to rip out Chinese networking hardware and replace it. The funding has seen delays.

More on the shipbuilding robot welder MR4Weld. "The system features a high-payload, 6-axis articulated robot fitted with a welding torch that is installed on a tracked undercarriage and equipped with an integrated vision system to autonomously identify welding joints."

The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation is growing.

Tesla's pickup rolls out.


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