SNC Tech Protects Critical Infrastructure – Like Colonial Pipeline – Against Need for Shutdown in Response to Hackers

SPARKS, Nev., May 18, 2021 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Binary Armor® cybersecurity family of products, which prevents cyberattacks from ever reaching or threatening operational technology (OT) of the nation’s critical infrastructure, would have allowed oil to continue to flow through the Colonial Pipeline during the DarkSide ransomware attack.

Without Binary Armor ensuring the integrity of critical systems, Colonial Pipeline was forced to disconnect its OT systems to prevent the hackers from accessing the pipeline’s OT. This operational technology – the mechanical electrical circuit breakers, valves and pumps – controls the flow of oil in the pipeline, and functions as the backbone of the entire nation’s electrical, oil and gas, and water processing and distribution networks.

The Colonial Pipeline hack and the February hack of valves in the City of Oldsmar, Florida’s water treatment plant are a stark warning that more must be done to protect the nation’s OT from criminals and nation-states targeting sensitive and critical infrastructure installations in the U.S.

Cyberattacks on infrastructure, which have grown in frequency and potency, threaten to inflict potentially catastrophic economic, environmental and structural damage.

“Cyber criminals and foreign adversaries are constantly testing our systems and seeking opportunities to hack our OT. Our national critical infrastructure is too easy a target," stated Pete Fischer, who oversees Binary Armor development at SNC. “Binary Armor provides the technology to protect these systems from attack.”

Leveraging decades of SNC’s performance as a national security contractor and a cutting-edge innovator, Binary Armor provides critical, real-time, endpoint cybersecurity.

The system’s patented “functional whitelisting” technology stops both internal and external threats from reaching OT, including malware and intentionally unsafe or erroneous instructions that cause motors to spin too fast, valves to open or close at inappropriate times, or switches to turn out of sequence. By allowing only pre-approved, known, safe messages to reach OT, Binary Armor protects against insider threats and human error, and enforces workflow to reduce the likelihood of equipment damage and personnel injury.

Binary Armor has been tested and validated by both U.S. Department of Defense and industry labs with continuous operation since 2014 on utility supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

Fischer stated, “Binary Armor has proven itself through successful performance and demanding certifications. We are proud of the track record of protecting utility SCADA and control systems for the U.S. military and commercial customer since 2014.”

The Ukrainian attack demonstrated the vulnerability of electrical grids to OT cyberattacks. A 2019 survey of utilities around the world conducted by Siemens and the Ponemon Institute found that, “This year, the majority of global utilities surveyed say, cyber threats present a greater business risk from their OT than their IT environment. Utilities are concerned by the unique characteristics of OT environments, including a focus on availability, reliability and safety.”

The Binary Armor engineering team has extensive experience developing solutions that enhance national security and is comprised of individuals with long-standing involvement supporting sensitive US government programs. The Binary Armor team can deliver solutions for protecting all levels of utility systems and sites.

Binary Armor is a simple, affordable, and commercially available solution to protect OT systems. Binary Armor is available through multiple sales partners and is also available through the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). Find the catalog on GSA Advantage.

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About Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC)

Owned by Chairwoman and President Eren Ozmen and CEO Fatih Ozmen, SNC is a trusted leader in solving the world’s toughest challenges through best-of-breed, open architecture engineering in Space Systems, Commercial Solutions, and National Security and Defense. SNC is recognized among The Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Space and was selected as a US Best Managed Company for two consecutive years. For nearly 60 years, SNC has delivered state-of-the-art civil, military and commercial solutions including more than 4,000 space systems, subsystems and components to customers worldwide, and participated in more than 500 missions to space, including to Mars. In spring 2021, SNC announced the transition of its Space Systems business area to an independent commercial space company, Sierra Space.