Is it Safe?

Another milestone in life, my teenage daughter is learning to drive. I’ll freely admit to being a bit anxious about it. I recall her and her younger siblings playing with toy cars, and I don’t remember it ending well for the cars…My training as an engineer has taught me to seek out potential hazards and look for ways to address them. I have every confidence in the ability of my daughter to safely navigate... Read more

Are We Four Lines of Python Away from Cybersecurity Trouble?

A USA Today reporter recently interviewed the guys who hacked the Jeep Cherokee last year. One of the white hats said something that was particularly distressing. He said that he wrote “four lines of python and owned [had access to] 1.4 million cars.” What gets me is not that he did it (he revealed their hack to Fiat/Chrysler before publishing), but that a hunk of metal traveling down the road at 60 or... Read more

Don’t Lose Sight of the Forest for the Trees

In a recent interview with Chemical Processing magazine, I was asked about complying with alarm management standards such as ISA 18.2 and IEC 62682. I emphasized the obvious importance of complying with these standards. With compliance a given, we must guard against missing the forest for the trees. Striving for improved Operator Effectiveness (the forest) is the greater goal and focusing strictly on... Read more

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Captain Has Turned on the No Hacking Sign

Recently, a Colorado man named Chris Roberts was questioned by the FBI for allegedlyhacking the in-flight entertainment system of a United Airlines plane and issuing a command to one of the aircraft engines.  The command caused the plane to climb and tilt in one direction. Mr. Roberts claims to have hacked airplane systems for a number of years and was only caught this time because he tweeted about his attack on... Read more