Dale Peterson

S4 Founder

Dale Peterson secures industrial control systems (ICS). For over 15 years he has been on the leading/bleeding edge helping security conscious asset owners effectively and efficiently manage risk to their critical assets. He has pioneered numerous ICS security tools and techniques, such as the first intrusion detection signatures for ICS that are now in every commercial product. In 2007 Dale created the S4 Events to showcase the best offensive and defensive work in ICS security and build a community. S4 is now the largest and most advanced ICS event in the world. Dale is constantly pushing and prodding the ICS community to move faster and get better.

Early Career

In 1984 Dale Peterson graduated from the University of Illinois and joined the NSA as a cryptanalyst, a codebreaker. After 6 years that he can talk little about, he moved to the commercial network security industry.
In the 90’s Dale focused on banking and financial cyber security. He worked in leading companies securing wholesale banking, ATM processing, and electronic funds transfer software and hardware in a variety of roles including engineering, algorithm and protocol design, service, marketing and sales, and even as President of a public NASDAQ company.

Starting Digital Bond and Finding SCADA

In 1998, Dale Peterson founded the security consulting firm Digital Bond, and he became aware of SCADA in 2000 in an assessment of a very large water SCADA system (who is still a client). He was thrilled by working with computer systems, applications and networks that actually controlled physical processes, and quickly realized they needed a lot of cybersecurity help.

In the past 17 years Dale has helped secure 100’s of companies’ industrial control systems (ICS) in every sector … oil/gas, electric, water, manufacturing, mining, building automation, … and now IIoT/Industrie 4.0. Most of Dale’s clients are large organizations with 10’s or 100’s of ICS that are creating and improving ICS security programs, and most have been clients for 5+ years.

Creator and Program Chair of S4 Events

In 2007 Dale created the S4 Conference because there was no event where Digital Bond ICS security research could be presented to an audience that understands it. It has grown from a 2-day, 35 person event to 3 days on 3 stages and 300+ people each January in Miami South Beach.

S4 is the event that draws advanced content and the influencers who determine where the ICS community is going in the future. There is now an S4xEurope Conference in Vienna, Austria in early June. Dale spends about 50% of his time developing the agenda for the S4 Events and making the video content available on the S4 Events YouTube Channel.

ICS Security Research

Dale Peterson and the Digital Bond team are responsible for groundbreaking ICS security research. Since Digital Bond does not sell any products, the results were made available and have been integrated into most security products with an ICS capability.  Three examples:

  • Dale developed the world’s first set of ICS intrusion detection signatures. These have been integrated into almost all commercial and open source ICS.
  • Project Redpoint code enumerated ICS/IoT components and have been integrated into Shodan and most vulnerability scanners.
  • Project Basecamp shined a spotlight on the insecure by design problem in PLC/RTU/Controllers and led to the development of a next generation more secure product.

Dale continues to work closely with the ICS security research community and highlight the best work at S4 Events.

Industry Evangelist

Dale frequently keynotes and speaks at security events and ICS/IoT events around the world.

He has over 1000 articles on ICS from his long running blog at www.digitalbond.com. Now Dale focuses his writing on Medium and LinkedIn, in addition to the Digital Bond site.

In addition to his widely read SCADA security blog, Dale has written two ICS Protection Profiles for NIST’s PCSRF and participated in the development of numerous ICS security standards.

Family and Fun

When not at a client site, Dale splits his time between Maui, Park City and Tokyo. If you are visiting any of those places, let Dale know.

Skiing, hiking and anything that gets him on a mountain recharges the energy. Machine learning is his current technical passion.

Dale’s wife and daughter are Japanese, and he continues the struggle to learn the language.

My Sessions

Closing Panel … an S4 Tradition

Main Stage

The Closing Panel always gets high marks from attendees. Ralph Langner and Zach Tudor join Dale Peterson on the Main Stage, and no punches are pulled. What are we not talking about? Where do we need to focus? What did we learn from S4x20? and much more. Immediately after the Closing Panel we invite everyone […]

Panel / Debate Strategy

What To Patch When … Automating and Replacing the CVSS

Main Stage

S4x19 included a session on replacing the CVSS for ICS vulnerabilities. It was agreed by all three panelists that it was fatally flawed. And the replacement system that received the most interest was Art Manion’s proposed Now, Next, Never decision tree. Art and the team at CERT/CC have worked on this approach and are prepared […]

Risk Management Strategy

An Interview with Dr. Edmund O. Schweitzer, III

Main Stage

Dr. Schweitzer is largely responsible for the invention and use of the digital relay and many other process and protection devices found in substations and other parts of electric systems. If you have seen blue boxes in substation racks, you have seen the result of his and the SEL teams work. Dr. Schweitzer’s company has […]


Dale Peterson – Opening Keynote

Main Stage

Dale Peterson kicks off S4x20 by introducing the theme of the event and how attendees can get the most of S4 Week.


Cyber Nationalism: What Team Are You On?

Main Stage

Claim: Countries and alliances around the world are putting in extremely difficult to find hooks that allow them to compromise ICS when necessary. If this claim is true, who does a global asset owner buy their ICS? Who do they trust not to use this hook? Does each country they produce in require the global […]

Keynote Panel / Debate Strategy

An Interview with Andy Greenberg, Author of Sandworm

Main Stage

In late 2019, Andy Greenberg wrote a popular and relevant book on ICS attackers, Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers. Andy has given a number of keynotes on the book, so we thought we would change things up and interview him on the S4x20 Main Stage. […]

Attacks and Attackers