Identified issues in networks, Computer Network Security

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The "Big Red Rocks" (BRR) mining company is based and operates in Western Australia. They are primarily an iron ore miner, but they also produce electricity through tidal power to support their crushing operations, with any excess power sold back to the power grid through the electricity market. BRR maintains a head office in Perth, and a site office in Port Hedland. There is also a control system network operated at their crushing plant outside of Port Hedland. There is a requirement for database information from the crusher site to be sent to Perth for accounting and other purposes. BRR has been informed by CERT Australia that some of their internal documents have been found on external third party websites, and that they have significant security issues which need to be rectified. You are a network security consultant who has been hired to advise on the issues present in the current architecture and associated network security issues.

The following hardware and software is in operation at each site:

Perth Head Office

  • 200 client desktop PCs running Windows Vista
  • Web server (external) running Apache on Redhat Linux
  • MS Exchange Server on Windows Server 2008
  • 802.11 wireless using WPA TKIP
  • Executives have iPads to access the internal network
  • Connection between Head Office and PH Site over Telco private WAN
  • External Access is via VPN (PPTP) user name and password
  • There is an AV server
  • Port Hedland Office
  • Runs 20 PCs with Windows Vista
  • Authentication to ADS over the WAN link to Perth
  • Connected to mine site via 802.11 wireless (WPA TKIP)

Mining Site

  • No ADS - all PCs belong to a workgroup
  • Connection to PH Site Office via 802.11g point to point link (WPA TKIP)
  • 10 PCs running Windows Vista in the office
  • 5 PCs running Windows NT in the control room (NOTE: This cannot be changed as the SCADA software will not run on a newer OS)
  • There are no individual logons or passwords on the control room PCs (Usernames and passwords cannot be implemented as this is an operational issue)
  • SCADA engineers remotely connect to the mine site through a VPN Server PPTP


Other information:

  • The network security policy has not been updated since 2005
  • There is no patching regime
  • See attached network diagram (Note: this may be out of date but is the most current we can find)
  • The VPN at the Head Office and the VPN at the mine site are not connected



You are required to produce the following deliverables as part of your contract:

1. A list of the issues with BRRs network as it currently stands. The list will explain the vulnerabilities associated with each issue

2. Treatment recommendations to address the identified issues in BRRs networks

3. A detailed network diagram which creates a more secure network for BRRs operations

4. Updated network security policies which take into consideration current issues and hardware

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