Guards are not Air Gaps

“An air gap is a network security measure that consists of ensuring that a secure computer network is physically isolated from unsecured networks, such as the public Internet or an unsecured local area network.”  (Wikipedia)

Note the emphasis in the word physically.

A number of forums have discussed whether data diodes are equivalent to air gaps in one direction, including a number of articles on Cyber Matters.   In reality you can argue it both ways.

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The Need for Network Segregation in Critical Infrastructure Systems

A recent article in the NY Times claims:

The vast majority of targeted computer attacks now start with a malicious e-mail sent to a company employee. Now evidence suggests that the same technique could be used to attack watersheds, power grids, oil refineries and nuclear plants.

This cannot be allowed to happen, here I explore the issue in a little more detail.

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Data Diode Technology Can Help Solve Complex Cyber Security Issues

Due to recent security incidents, there is now a significant debate with regard to what is the best way to protect Industrial Control Systems (ICS).

Generally, the debate focuses on whether networks should be isolated via an Air-Gap, or joined by well-configured Firewall(s) but the debate often misses a third option – Data Diodes.

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