swIDch Takes the Lead in Enhancing User Authentication for PLCs in OT Field through Collaboration with LS ELECTRIC

Nov 10 2023

Optimal PLC authentication method_ OTAC-based authentication

[LONDON, UK] swIDch strengthens its position in the global authentication market with a solution that innovatively addresses user authentication vulnerabilities of Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), a core equipment for integrated operation and control in the field of Operational Technology (OT) for production automation.

Thanks to the contract with LS ELECTRIC to produce the world's first PLC device with OTAC (One-Time Authentication Code), known as the most advanced user authentication technology, swIDch has been receiving invitations from global PLC manufacturers. Following successful proof-of-concept (PoC) with several global PLC manufacturers, one of which is in the development phase of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), swIDch is riding the wave of success in the blue ocean market of advanced PLC user authentication, further fueling its plans for an IPO next year.

In the era of industrial automation, the global manufacturing environment is transitioning to integrated OT and IT systems to efficiently manage numerous devices. However, the lack of advanced authentication systems for user and device identification in this new environment makes it vulnerable to external threats. Recent incidents, such as the PLC attack on Israel's water treatment system leading to process paralysis and contamination, as well as a PLC hacking incident in a Florida water treatment facility causing a rapid increase in chemical concentrations, highlight the potential real-world consequences. Additionally, power plants, power grids, manufacturing plants, gas lines, and even fleets, fighter jets, and missile manufacturing facilities where PLCs are essential have been breached through hacking. Considering the significant growth in global PLC demand, expected to reach $195.952 million by 2028 (Source: Market Research), enhancing user authentication technology to prevent unauthorized access to OT and PLC devices is essential.

Most organizations and enterprises currently using PLC devices access them through fixed value-based user authentication processes such as passwords. Even for those considering the adoption of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) systems, the need for extensive changes to software, hardware, and infrastructure to implement new authentication technologies has hindered widespread adoption.

swIDch provides a solution to overcome these practical limitations. It offers an OT authentication security solution that enhances user authentication processes while practically maintaining existing hardware and network environments. By utilizing a one-way dynamic token authentication process, it can be freely used even in closed networks that only allow one-way communication. Importantly, it doesn’t require upgrading PLC hardware specifications or existing network environments, allowing for user authentication with dynamic values while preserving the existing user experience.

Building on the successful PoC with swIDch, LS ELECTRIC is set to begin the production of PLCs with OTAC technology embedded. LS ELECTRIC plans to target the sensitive manufacturing and industrial equipment market with PLC devices featuring lightweight yet powerful Access Control Lists (ACL). Additionally, LS ELECTRIC is actively considering expanding the application of OTAC to other factory automation equipment beyond PLC devices.

The successful collaboration with LS ELECTRIC has accelerated swIDch’s business with global PLC manufacturers. After successful PoC with one of the top 5 global PLC manufacturers, swIDch is currently progressing to the implementation phase with customers of the said manufacturer. swIDch is also in the process of joint development with another PLC manufacturer for the registration of an OTAC-based PLC authentication security package on their marketplace by the end of 2023. Furthermore, continuous meeting requests are coming in from various global PLC manufacturers, said swIDch.

"In the midst of the unstoppable trend of industrial automation, swIDch goes beyond merely presenting the only model that can minimize changes to existing equipment and infrastructure while innovatively increasing security in PLC devices, which have been vulnerable to fixed value-based authentication,” said Yoo Chang-hun, CEO of swIDch. “As the demand for user authentication enhancement in the global PLC market is significant, and with ongoing collaborations with leading PLC manufacturers worldwide, we will actively pioneer the global market."

Following the user and device authentication business in the financial industry that swIDch has focused on, by discovering new opportunities in the PLC market in the OT area, swIDch is no longer a security startup that only talks about potential but is reborn as a leader in cybersecurity with proven capabilities and market. It's done. In particular, it is noteworthy that swIDch has successfully established AaaS (Algorithm as a Service), a license supply model based on original technology, in the security market where most complete solutions are available. swIDch plans to continue this momentum and pursue an IPO at the end of 2024.



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