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I am wondering what you would call the kind of security that applies to systems such as industrial control (SCADA) systems, building automation systems, fire alarm systems, etc.

These systems are characterized that they for the most part consist of networked embedded devices, sensors, actuators, and possibly a few PCs as management stations, too. They don't store much if any personal information, and many systems also won't store strictly confidential, intellectual property information. On the other hand, unlike purely electronic systems like online shops or banking systems, they either provide life safety-related services (fire alarm systems) or could directly cause life safety threats (e.g. harm humans through an out-of-control industrial process).

The term "information security" applies to secure handling of information (AIC triade: availability, integrity, confidentiality=privacy) but I would argue that information security in the all-encompassing sense is of much greater concern in healthcare, banking systems, etc. where personal information, confidential information, trade secrets, or top-secret government information is involved.

The term "computer security" is from what I can tell generally used for computers and nowadays also for smart phones.

"Network security", from SANS, is the process of taking physical and software preventative measures to protect the underlying networking infrastructure from unauthorized access, misuse, malfunction, modification, destruction, or improper disclosure, thereby creating a secure platform for computers, users and programs to perform perform their permitted critical functions within a secure environment.

"System security" sounds very unspecific and a quick Google check confirms that it is used in many different contexts and meanings.

Security in industrial control (SCADA) systems, building automation systems and fire alarm systems involves aspects of all four security "areas" mentioned above, but is anybody aware of a single "xxx security" term that would intuitively apply to such types of systems?

Thanks a lot, Christoph

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    The current terminology I would currently use to describe SCADA security is "poor" or "none" – Richie Frame Sep 16 '15 at 2:25
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Security in industrial control (SCADA) systems, building automation systems and fire alarm systems involves aspects of all four security "areas" mentioned above, but is anybody aware of a single "xxx security" term that would intuitively apply to such types of systems?

It is generally refereed as Industrial Control System (ICS) Security, SCADA Security or Control Systems Security. In fact there are a few certification with the similar title for security professionals expert in ICS or SCADA systems e.g Global Industrial Cyber Security Professional (GICSP), or books with titles like Industrial Network Security or Handbook of SCADA/Control Systems Security cover the the security in these systems.

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  • I think these are good term for most of those systems, except maybe fire alarm systems, and good enough to be an answer to my question. I did some more reading and realized that "computer security" is typically used somewhat broader than what I thought, not just computers and smart phones, but also covering "information systems" and "digital devices" in general. – christoph Sep 15 '15 at 23:57

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