World Cup – Welcome Home!

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1983 – We the last of the Generation X were born before India won its first cricket world cup and were too young to experience that victory. But we grew up hoping to experience it, not for a year or two but for 28 yrs. By this time my son is of the age I was during the first victory. Cricket to us is more than just sport, it is hope. It gives more hope than what any of the self motivation books or talks can provide, It gives more hope than real world success stories; coz in cricket you are not hearing a story, you are part of the game. Though not essentially playing it you participate in it making predictions, ball by ball. And like the stock market it is highly unpredictable, no matter how hard you try to do it and always end up missing some factor. No other game in history has the chances of victory less significant on capability of the players.  From the sun and rain gods, the chances of head or tail at the toss of a coin, geography of the venue, the crowd factor, several factors can play spoil sport. To win the game it is not just required to defeat the opponent but defeat nature itself. 600 balls of strategy by players on the field and off the field, every ball is a game by itself.

Cricket in India has grown along with us, along with our economy. During those times we were not yet there on the global stage. Cricket gave us hope that we could demonstrate ourselves equally on the global stage. Many of my friends would argue what cricket could do anything to India rather waste some productive hours. I would still argue that the ‘hope’ factor is more important to reach horizons, to challenge the impossible rather than just do hard work. That’s the game of cricket, you predict something and there would arise a player who would prove it all wrong, not just your predictions but nature and science itself. What else could give you more hope.

What could the statistics do to the victory of Srilanka. Right from the beginning the statistics decided Srilanka’s victory and at 31-2 how many could genuinely predict India’s victory. As if history did rewrite itself to challenge the capability of humans India won when it was least expected.

No other place in the world can you see the gods of India together, No other victory is celebrated so much. The cricketers, the politicians, the businessmen, the shining stars of Bollywood and a billion plus spectators; nothing would have seen the whole of India praying for a common goal, The victory of India. For there are no different religions, no different languages, it is a feeling that the whole nation has in common.

2011 – There was indeed one factor that predicted India’s win. The calendars of 1983 and 2011 were the same Smile. Against all odds India did win. To prove that we are very much in the global stage and give the next generation the hope to do more. Let this victory challenge all that’s been decided impossible in this country.

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More on Stuxnet – Some Views

 

Stunxnet is beyond imagination. Bloggers claim its targets are beyond process, power and nuclear plants. Siemens systems are also being used in Space as well as Traffic control systems like railways. If you have seen Die Hard 4.0 you can have your imagination rolling!  Now its clear why hackers targeted Siemens systems. But still I have my doubts.

One of the blogs claim it could have even attacked India’s INSAT-4B satellite. Jeffery Carr on his blog says “On July 7, 2010, a power glitch in the solar panels of India’s INSAT-4B satellite resulted in 12 of its 24 transponders shutting down. As a result, an estimated 70% of India’s Direct-To-Home (DTH) companies’ customers were without service. India’s DTH operators include Sun TV and state-run Doordarshan and data services of Tata VSNL.

What does this have to do with the Stuxnet worm that’s infected thousands of systems, mostly in India and Iran? India’s Space Research Organization is a Siemens customer. According to the resumes of two former engineers who worked at the ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, the Siemens software in use is Siemens S7-400 PLC and SIMATIC WinCC, both of which will activate the Stuxnet worm.”

The blogger has indicated that the PLC’s were used in Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre. Might be that these PLC’s were used as safety systems for gas handling. Whether these PLC’s were used to control satellites is a real question.

 

And there has been lot of talk about SIL. SIL only represents reliability of the system and not security.

 

What is a SIL? (ref: http://www.dyadem.com/services/additional-engineering-services/sil/)

A SIL is a statistical representation of the reliability of the SIS when a process demand occurs. It is used in both ANSI/ISA-S84.01 and IEC 61508 to measure the reliability of SIS. Both ISA and IEC have agreed that there are three categories: SILs 1, 2 and 3. IEC also includes an additional level, SIL 4, that ISA does not. The higher the SIL is, the more reliable or effective the system is.

SILs are correlated to the probability of failure of demand (PFD), which is equivalent to the unavailability of a system at the time of a process demand.

 

There has also a lot of SIL4 discussed on these blogs.

What is SIL 4? (ref: http://www.gmigasandflame.com/sil_faqs.html#SIL4)

SIL 4 is the highest level of risk reduction that can be obtained through a Safety Instrumented System. However, in the process industry this is not a realistic level and currently there are few, if any, products / systems that support this safety integrity level.
SIL 4 systems are typically so complex and costly that they are not economically beneficial to implement. Additionally, if a process includes so much risk that a SIL 4 system is required to bring it to a safe state, then fundamentally there is a problem in the process design which needs to be addressed by a process change or other non-instrumented method.

Quotes one of my Colleagues who is Safety Systems professional “To attain SIL 4 the system has to be non micro processor based and hence more secure. It is true that it is more secure as there is no software involved. However practically SIL4 are not used currently”

This discussion on Siemens website supports it (http://www.automation.siemens.com/WW/forum/guests/PostShow.aspx?PageIndex=1&PostID=181715&Language=en)

However there has been some work on SIL using Linux (Ref: SIL4LINUX). And some claims on Software supporting SIL 4 (www.firmafrance.com/Documents_Produits/Produit3396.pdf)

 

To conclude the SIL standards really do not ensure how secure the system should be from hacking attempts.

 

One more question! How come Windows in Iran. Noted this on Microsoft’s Website (http://www.microsoft.com/exporting/faq.htm)

Are there certain countries you cannot ship Microsoft products to?

Yes.  In general, Microsoft products may not be exported to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria.

 

For automation professionals who would like to know more on the infection process read Symantec’s Exploring Stuxnet’s PLC Infection Process

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