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Comment: Re:San Diego (Score 1) 246

by thegarbz (#48651519) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

There's nothing self-righteous about following the laws that are designed to protect your lives and the lives of the people in the vehicle in front of you.

If you fell otherwise feel free to go Darwin yourself into the back of a truck which suddenly breaks to avoid a collision. At least we'd have one less dickhead who thinks they own the road and that laws don't apply to them behind the wheel.

Comment: Re:What took them so long? (Score 1) 193

by thegarbz (#48649347) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

Then the problem is the people carrying out the orders. The worst thing that can be done is putting engineers in charge of process control network security. They know just enough to be really dangerous (and I say this as one of them).

There are ways of hooking two networks together safely such as using the equivalent of a datadiode (I hate that term) between two different machines to sit them on an intermediate network which can then be accessed via some database connection or Citrix for native apps.

Connecting the office network to the process control network should NEVER involved a little blue cable between two routers.

Comment: Re:No big red button? (Score 1) 193

by thegarbz (#48649339) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

Even with emergency shutdowns, you can still get massive damage

Only if your emergency shutdown is the equivalent of pulling the plug.

Proper emergency shutdown systems are managed systems that control the process safely. One such system I worked on, emergency shutdown involved shedding load from 4 other process units to ensure that enough power was maintained to slowly shutdown a large reactor, while at the same time venting the product to flare. Push the button and whoosh, 40m high flame for approximately 4 hours until the reactor is cool enough to actually cut feed.

Just because something is an emergency doesn't mean it needs to be done instantly or in one step.

Comment: Re:Marketing? (Score 1) 216

by thegarbz (#48649227) Attached to: Anonymous Claims They Will Release "The Interview" Themselves

I'm trying to figure out where these people all saw it already given that the premier got canned.

There used to be an old saying, back when people had these things called "books" and the saying went "don't judge a book by its cover".

I think this was going to be very much like Pineapple Express. It's not going to win an oscar, but then few movies I enjoy with a lot of people while drinking booze and munching on chips do.

Comment: Re:Fundamental failure of process design (Score 1) 193

by thegarbz (#48649221) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

The trick lies in determining whether this increased cost of failure is offset by the increase in production.

No the trick lies in analyzing the process from a reliability and safety point of view and ensuring individual failures are mitigated. i.e. pump interlocks so if a control system accidentally stops a pump another kicks in to keep things going, valves which fail in the open state to keep the process going.

The goal is that equipment failure should safely reduce rates or safely and without equipment damage shut the place down. If you can't do that you've failed your process safety design, or done something weird with your risk calculation if you want to keep running in that way.

Comment: Re:Fundamental failure of process design (Score 1) 193

by thegarbz (#48649211) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

Read the rest of the sentence, especially the bit about safe state.

Safety systems aren't designed only to keep people safe and to shut places down at cost. Safety systems are also designed to keep things running and sometimes to prevent equipment damage.

Please don't get hung up on 4 words with your process wisdom. Instead read the full paragraph and realise the intent was to say: Where was the independent system that would maintain a safe state at the loss of a control system which you can only take credit for working 90% of the time.

Comment: Re:Fundamental failure of process design (Score 1) 193

by thegarbz (#48649193) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

Removing this risk is impossible.

You can't remove such a risk but you can reduce it dramatically. But reducing any risk may be impractical. A company may happily operate with the risk and it may bite them (like maybe in this case) but you most definitely can reduce the risk.

One similar example is the plant I currently work at. Sudden loss of power would result in severe refractory damage. When they built the plant they took this into account and built a small natgas fueled co-generation plant next to the process unit specifically so they could ride through the loss of power.

In any case this problem doesn't look like external issues, but rather appears to be process and control system related, which leads me back to my first question, where was the independent system that prevented the plant from getting into a state where a problem occurs? If your risk is sudden stop of the process then your safety system should be designed in a way to keep the process going.

Comment: Re:Fundamental failure of process design (Score 1) 193

by thegarbz (#48649125) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

You have to differentiate between a safe but damaging shut down, where there is no risk to human life, and an unsafe shutdown.

No you don't. The principles to process safety apply to both personal risk and commercial risk to a company. Any company that focuses on one and not the other is a fool which probably deserves the cost of replacing equipment. I have personally installed many safety systems that have nothing to do with personal safety at all, and everything to do with companies either not damaging equipment or not getting a fine from a regulator.

The only thing you really need to differentiate is the chart that your figures are displayed on because if in an incident a lawyer gets there hands on something which puts a dollar value on human life the day would get very interesting.

You use a car analogy parts of the body work are designed to fail in a way that destroys them, but keeps the occupants of the car safe. Industrial systems are often designed on the same principals.

More over, it is very difficult to design any kind of complex machine that can never fail in a way that damages it. Even if it can be done, often it doesn't make economic sense to since the cost of a very low number of failures is likely to be lower than the cost of preventing them. Insurance is a better option, and in this case if their security had been up to scratch it wouldn't have happened in the first place.

You're right about this, but not about the scale. Components designed to protect people at the expense of equipment or components designed to protect equipment are often cheap and have a facility to easily replace. Two examples of what you're saying would be bursting disks (designed to pop at a set pressure and prevent vessel rupture), and sheer couplings which come in all sorts of types and will break under stress before something else does. I have never seen a plant designed with the view of protecting occupants during a complete destruction which didn't also have many systems in place to prevent this. Just because for instance the local gas plant buries their vessel in a giant pool of sand, doesn't mean they don't also have other systems to prevent vessel rupture from occurring in the first place.

Now they may have thought about this and applied a value as you said, in which case I'm going back to fool who deserves the cost of equipment replacement and won't shed a tear about this incident.

Comment: Re:Fundamental failure of process design (Score 1) 193

by thegarbz (#48649091) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

They are one and the same when process safety is concerned. In the industry we grade issues on risk and implement safeguards against those risks. It doesn't matter if the risk is environmental, commercial, or safety. The standards for safety instrumented systems talk about a Safety Integrity Level of the systems. Every company I have worked at will also talk about Commercial Integrity Level, and some even have Environmental Integrity Level.

Ultimately it's still a question of process design. I currently work at a plant where a power outage would cause a complete destruction of refractory inside a vessel. They knew this when they built it so part of the project was a small natural gas co-generation powerplant that will keep that unit, and only that unit operational when the grid connection was lost.

Comment: Re:San Diego (Score 1) 246

by thegarbz (#48649063) Attached to: Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

Except there's nothing illegal about merging into traffic as long as you don't tailgate. Rather than "don't get mad get even", how about "don't get mad, use common sense".

I'm travelling at 100km/h on a freeway. A car has pulled in front which causes me to have to drop back by some 15m (safety distance for car in front + length of car). I will now reach my destination 1.85 seconds later than I would have if that car weren't there.

People who get mad about such minute things don't need a "get even" device. They need therapy.

Comment: Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (Score 1) 142

by thegarbz (#48645813) Attached to: NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

But to respond to your statement directly, no, a metal socket isn't going to help the first bit when the drive, ratchet, or handle is made of a flimsy plastic like ABS or PLA, even if it's injection molded. If the fastener is hard enough to turn that it breaks an ABS socket, then it's going to break the wrench instead when you use a steel socket on it.

Are you a mechanical engineer? It certainly doesn't sound like it when you jump to the conclusion that the largest and sturdiest part of a tool would fail before the fine tool end that contacts the nut.

A metal tool-end most definitely WOULD help and make the resulting tool far more sturdy.

Comment: Fundamental failure of process design (Score 4, Insightful) 193

by thegarbz (#48645807) Attached to: Cyberattack On German Steel Factory Causes 'Massive Damage'

Ok everyone is going to leap into the whole world of control system, cybersecurity and what not, but I have a far deeper question.

What kind of a plant is designed in a way that a full failure of their control system would result in being unable to shutdown in a controlled manner. Where is the safety instrumented systems that can shutdown processes at a push of a button? Where are the manual overrides? Where is the big-arse power switch, and if that can't shut down the plant safely then where is the system that drops the plant to a safe state in the advent of loss of power.

This scenario to me sounds like cybersecurity was the lease of their problems.

Comment: Re:My sockets are made of high quality steel (Score 3, Insightful) 142

by thegarbz (#48645491) Attached to: NASA 'Emails' a Socket Wrench To the ISS

I really wouldn't want to use a plastic socket on much of anything.

Really? Because I would give my left kidney for it if having one would save my life. I don't think anyone actually sent this print up there because they don't have one. There's these things called "proof of concept".A lot of slashdot readers seem to be unfamiliar with the concept.

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