PTC enhances industrial control system security with new release of Kepware industrial connectivity platform

Kathleen Mitford of PTC

Kepwarea PTC business developing industrial connectivity software, announced the release of the KEPServerEX version 6.5 industrial connectivity platform. With this release, PTC demonstrates its commitment to industrial control system (ICS) security and providing its customers with tools and best practices that support defense-in-depth programs.

Available immediately and free for existing users with valid V5 and V6 licenses of KEPServerEX, KEPServerEX version 6.5 includes comprehensive secure deployment guidelines, greater project file protection, enhanced password configuration, and other updated security components.

To strengthen cybersecurity collaboration with its customers, PTC is introducing a Shared Responsibility Model in conjunction with KEPServerEX version 6.5. This model defines a framework for PTC and its customers to work together to increase the security of deployments.

“In today’s security landscape, the pressure is on all industrial organisations to secure their operations networks. Recent breaches emphasize the growing need for constantly evolving defense-in-depth strategies, tactics, and tools,” said Kathleen Mitford, executive vice president, Products, PTC.

“By establishing a Shared Responsibility Model, we can work directly with our customers to address security issues experienced by industrial organisations of all sizes. We remain committed to adding new security features to our products and maintaining up-to-date components to help customers reduce exposure to vulnerabilities and cyber-attacks.”

To encourage adoption of security best practices, KEPServerEX version 6.5 features a new comprehensive Secure Deployment Guide intended to help users implement production instances of KEPServerEX in a way that can help to reduce security risks. The guide provides strategic recommendations on utilising secure interfaces and the Configuration API, on-going server maintenance, KEPServerEX installation and post-installation actions, and more. 

Additional security resources and enhancements within KEPServerEX version 6.5 include:

  • Project file protection: Enables users to encrypt .opf project files when they are being transferred to other users or other instances of KEPServerEX. This capability uses modern encryption to make it more difficult for attackers to use brute force methods.
  • Administrator password in install: Allows users to set an administrator password during the KEPServerEX install to strengthen security of application-level settings—even before configuration.
  • Back-end security updates: Updated encryption algorithms help combat modern encryption-breaking technology and strengthen the on-going security of the application.

“PTC operates and innovates in the new security threat environment, and we fully understand the challenges our customers face when trying to improve security and uptime in their facilities,” said Jeff Bates, product manager, PTC.

Jeff Bates

“With KEPServerEX version 6.5, we are showing our commitment to helping our customers deploy KEPServerEX into production in a way that reduces security risks.”

PTC recognises how difficult it is to upgrade ICS systems and components, especially for users with validated systems. To make upgrading KEPServerEX easier for customers, PTC is offering a free version 6.5 upgrade to all users with a valid Version 5 or Version 6 license for a limited time, including licenses without an active support agreement. 

PTC is also offering support and maintenance at a discounted rate to enable customers to continue safeguarding their operations as more security features are added to KEPServerEX. 

As part of its commitment to ensuring continuous product enhancements, KEPServerEX version 6.5 also includes updates to 32 other server components, drivers, and advanced plug-ins. Users will benefit from enhancements made to the Torque Tool Ethernet driver, TIA Portal Exporter Utility, MQTT Client driver and server performance, as well as new store and forward capabilities for the ThingWorx Native Interface.

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