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

ICS Detection Challenge: Analysis and Results

Main Stage

On Tuesday eight ICS vendors will participate in the ICS Detection Challenge. They will be given ICS packet captures from a diverse set of actual ICS and be scored first on their ability to create an asset inventory. The second part of the Challenge is to identify cyber attacks and cyber incidents, inserted by the […]

Detection & Response

ICS Honeypots: Useful Canaries Or A Bunch Of Feathers

Main Stage

ICS honeypots and honeynets have been around for more than a decade. Many are low interaction that don’t fool basic scanners and others are very difficult to tell from the real thing. To date, most of the deployments are for threat analysis and threat statistics, but should you be considering an ICS honeypot as a […]

Detection & Response

Closing Panel

Main Stage

Dale Peterson closes things out with Ralph Langner, Zach Tudor and a possible third guest. What aren’t we talking about that we should be? Reactions to what was heard. Where is the ICS security community today and where does it need to be. Always voted one of the favorite sessions of S4.

Panel / Debate

Dale Peterson & Friends – Opening Keynote

Main Stage

Dale Peterson (with help from some friends) kicks off S4x19 by introducing the theme of the event and how attendees can get the most of S4 Week.


Is The Purdue Model Dead? And What’s Next?

Main Stage

The Purdue Model has had a long run as THE ICS ARCHITECTURE. Although there have been tweaks, such as DMZ’s represented as Level 2.5 and 3.5, it has been mostly unchanged for almost three decades. With the advent of IIoT / Industrie 4.0, cloud services, AI, sensors everywhere and other technical innovations, is it time […]


Secure Operations Technology (SEC-OT): A Description & Interview

Main Stage

Andrew will begin with a 10-minute introduction into his controversial approach to ICS security and architecture that he calls Secure Operations Technology (SEC-OT). After that Dale will interview Andrew and give him the chance to address some of the common objection questions to this approach. (Note: this session and the next session on the security […]

Architecture Strategy

2. ICS Security Architecture


The architecture of ICS has a huge impact security. The models of today and the future will be revealed as well as how security controls are overlaid on these ICS architectures.