Top 5 Misconceptions about ICS and SCADA Systems

Top 5 Misconceptions about ICS and SCADA Systems | DigitalXForce

Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems are the backbone of critical infrastructure like power grids, water treatment facilities, and manufacturing plants.

Despite their vital importance, several widespread misconceptions can lull organizations into a false sense of security regarding these systems. Let’s explore five of the most common misconceptions:

Misconception 1: ICS & SCADA Systems Have a Secure Software Profile

Contrary to popular belief, ICS and SCADA systems often prioritize availability and cost over robust cybersecurity measures. Security is frequently an afterthought rather than a core design principle. This lack of security-by-design leaves many systems unnecessarily vulnerable.

Misconception 2: ICS & SCADA Systems are Monitored by IT Professionals

While you’d expect IT experts to safeguard ICS and SCADA systems, the reality is quite different. Their security often falls to instrumentation/control engineers and electrical engineers with limited cybersecurity training compared to dedicated IT personnel.

Misconception 3: All ICS Systems are Air-Gapped and Hence Secure

The infamous Stuxnet malware demonstrated that even air-gapped systems are not impervious. Connectable access points like USB drives can introduce threats. Assuming air-gapping alone secures a system is extremely risky.

Misconception 4: ICS & SCADA Systems are Physically Secure

Many ICS components exist “outside the fence” without direct physical protections. This exposes utility infrastructure and manufacturing facilities to external threats that demand comprehensive risk management – physical and cyber.

Misconception 5: Proprietary Protocols Offer Security Through Obscurity

Security through obscurity is a myth. Determined adversaries can and will discover proprietary protocols. Public research has exposed numerous proprietary ICS/SCADA protocols, highlighting their inherent risks.


Taking ICS and SCADA security for granted can have catastrophic consequences for critical systems and infrastructure. Continuous risk assessment, robust security processes, personnel training, and a proactive security posture are essential for effective protection.

At iTRUSTXForce, we specialize in securing ICS, SCADA, and other critical infrastructure systems. Our services empower organizations to identify and mitigate risks before incidents occur. Protect your operations – contact us today.


About the Author

Himanshu Pandey

Himanshu oversees OT security initiatives and implements risk reduction strategies for clients across various sectors at iTrustXForce, including manufacturing, energy, and utilities. He has experience with various Industrial Automation and Control Systems (IACS), SCADA, RTU, PLC, BPCS, F&G, SIS, and DCS systems. 

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