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ctrlX developR Michael Langfinger: "Openness and security work together."

Portrait view of a ctrlX developR against a colorful background with a "ctrlX AUTOMATION Icon".

ctrlX AUTOMATION – developR


The increasing networking and merging of automation technology and information technology is clearly bringing the topic of cyber security into focus. Resilient systems that are resistant to attacks are indispensable in the factory of the future. In this interview, ctrlX developR Michael Langfinger provides insight into current security challenges and explains why ctrlX AUTOMATION is so secure despite radical openness at the various levels.

What is your history with ctrlX AUTOMATION?

I have accompanied ctrlX AUTOMATION as it grew up, so to speak. As a development engineer, I have been entrusted with the development and implementation of the security mechanisms of the ctrlX CORE control platform from the very beginning.

Today, I am the Product Owner for cyber security. My focus is on the security framework of ctrlX CORE as well as the operating system ctrlX OS. I am part of a team that provides the basic security components for this. We also provide support during the integration process and are available to answer questions on the subject.

In my role as Product Security Officer, I also work with the team to coordinate the handling of vulnerabilities – from assessing criticality to informing users and releasing updated versions. The goal is always to provide a system that is resilient to attacks.

Why is system resilience essential, especially in times of digitalization and networking?

Industrial networking and the associated IIoT are redefining the requirements for the security of automation solutions. Because in the networked world, attacks can do more harm than ever. It is therefore essential to securely connect control technology, IT and IoT and to consistently implement security at all levels. We have designed ctrlX AUTOMATION to be secure from the ground up – holistically.

This means that we not only offer the most open and powerful automation solution on the market, but also one that is consistently secure. For us, openness and security belong together seamlessly and are not mutually exclusive, as one might assume.

How is end-to-end security implemented in ctrlX AUTOMATION in concrete terms?

For us, it is important that a high level of security is in place for ctrlX AUTOMATION and for all components in the platform ecosystem. For example, each of the partner apps offered is validated by us. This reduces the risk to a maximum that a third-party software brings malicious code. This and the separation of the individual apps protect the system from manipulation and unauthorized access.

ctrlX AUTOMATION's hardware and software products are designed to be secure by design. This means that security requirements are already taken into account during the development phase. And we rely on a secure foundation: The basis of our IEC 62443 compliant automation solution is the Linux Ubuntu Core operating system.

With the ctrlX CORE controller, for example, we offer an integrated all-in-one network appliance. This ensures maximum security and availability of router, IoT gateway, firewall and VPN. The IoT software available for the automation solution also has fully integrated IT security standards in accordance with IEC 62443 for access control and remote maintenance. In addition, the controller offers various security features such as Secure Boot, TPM 2.0 chip, secure production mode and many more.

These are examples of how we implement security fundamentally and holistically in the networked world. Each component around which our system grows is pronounced accordingly secure, so that there can be no gateways.

Can you give us an outlook on what you will be dealing with in the near future?

In times of increasing networking, the topic of cyber security will come more and more to the fore. The merging of automation technology and information technology is forcing this. Cyber attacks have many manifestations and far-reaching consequences. It is a major challenge to permanently arm systems against new types of attack. However, because we have "rethought" security from the ground up in the development of ctrlX AUTOMATION, we have created a good precondition.

Developing a system that is resilient to attacks in all facets and also demonstrating these capabilities – for example, by conforming to standards such as IEC 62443 – will therefore continue to be a priority.



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Portrait view of Michael Langfinger, ctrlX AUTOMATION Area Product Owner IT Security

Michael Langfinger

ctrlX developR




Aufgeschlagenes Exemplar des ctrlX AUTOMATION Magazin 2022/2023

ctrlX AUTOMATION Magazine 2022/2023

"Feel free to change the game" ­– this is the motto of the ctrlX AUTOMATION magazine 2022/2023. Learn more about the new freedom in industrial automation enabled by the Linux operating system ctrlX OS and the planar system ctrlX FLOW6D. You can also expect exciting customer projects, partner statements and much more.

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