The paper Cyber Security of Industrial Control Systems (.pdf, March 2015) by Eric Luiijf and Bert Jan te Paske, published as part of the Global Conference on CyberSpace (GCCS) 2015 that takes place later this month in The Hague, contains a nice explanation of how ICS relates to our daily lives. Quoting from page 10:
Good Morning with ICS
What ICS controlled functions did you use this morning before you arrived at your desk? None? Then, we ask you to re-trace your steps.
Your alarm clock awoke you. You turned on the bedside light. The required extra Watts were generated, transported and distributed under ICS control. While you took a shower, ICS adjusted the drinking water production process and maintained the pressure in the pipelines to your home. Heating of your home and cooking breakfast required the production, transport and distribution of gas. All these processes are controlled by ICS. The cup of milk you used required automatic milking, strict temperature control of the intermediate storage tanks, and processing and packaging at the milk factory, all under ICS control. You either took the train (ICS-controlled signalling, points, power and traction), or road transport (ICS-controlled traffic lights, safety systems in tunnels and traffic control of lanes). Arriving at the office, you passed the ICS-operated barrier to the parking lot and the ICS-controlled security barrier or doors to enter the premises. The air conditioning, fire protection and evacuation systems of your organisation are all operated by ICS 24/7, as well as the elevator you took to your office at the top floor. The (critical) large coffee/tea/chocolate/soup machine has embedded ICS and is connected to the Internet …
You may have noticed that we deliberately skipped at least twenty other ICS operated functions your organisation and you have encountered and used this morning. Can you name them? Surprised by how ICS embed and hide themselves in functionality that is taken for granted?
But who is taking care of the cyber security and resilience of such critical functions? Or are these ICS managed in an unconsciously insecure way?
The remainder of the paper discusses these questions.