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Cybersecurity Threats Surge: Protecting Critical Infrastructure

September 23, 2023 by
Cybersecurity Threats Surge: Protecting Critical Infrastructure
Reza Abdolee

In an increasingly interconnected world, the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to cyberattacks has become a pressing concern. Rockwell Automation, a global leader in industrial automation, recently revealed the unsettling findings of its report "Anatomy of 100+ Cybersecurity Incidents in Industrial Operations". This comprehensive study conducted in collaboration with the Cyentia Institute paints a concerning picture of the cybersecurity landscape in the industrial sector. The report reveals that cyberattacks targeting operational technology (OT) and industrial control systems (ICS) have been on the rise, with nearly 60% of these incidents attributed to state-affiliated actors. In this blog, we will delve into the key takeaways from the report and discuss the critical need for proactive cybersecurity measures in safeguarding our critical infrastructure.

The Alarming Statistics

The report from Rockwell Automation illuminates a number of alarming statistics, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation.

  1. State-affiliated Actors at the Helm: A staggering 60% of cyberattacks targeting the industrial sector are orchestrated by state-affiliated actors. These well-organized groups are often inadvertently assisted by internal personnel, contributing to the severity of the attacks.
  2. Rapid Increase in Incidents: Cybersecurity incidents involving OT and ICS have surged in recent years. This rapid escalation in attacks underscores the urgent need for enhanced defenses.
  3. Energy Sector Most Vulnerable: The energy sector is the primary target, with 39% of attacks directed at it. This is followed by critical manufacturing (11%) and transportation (10%). These attacks pose significant risks to essential services.
  4. Phishing as a Preferred Tactic: Phishing remains the most favored attack technique, constituting 34% of all incidents. This highlights the importance of robust cybersecurity tactics such as segmentation, air gapping, Zero Trust, and security awareness training in mitigating risks.
  5. Common Targets: In over half of the OT/ICS incidents studied, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems were targeted (53%), followed by Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) at 22%.
  6. Insider Involvement: While more than 80% of threat actors originate from outside organizations, insiders unintentionally contribute to one-third of incidents by creating vulnerabilities.
  7. Operational Disruption: A startling 60% of OT/ICS incidents resulted in operational disruption, while 40% led to unauthorized access or data exposure. These attacks not only harm the impacted organization but also affect broader supply chains 65% of the time.

Addressing the Threat

The findings of this report emphasize the urgent need for proactive cybersecurity measures in protecting critical infrastructure:

  1. Strengthening IT Systems: Over 80% of OT/ICS incidents began with a compromise of IT systems, highlighting the interconnectedness of IT and OT. Organizations must fortify their IT systems to create a stronger defense against cyber threats.
  2. Network Architecture: Proper network architecture is crucial in safeguarding OT environments. A firewall between IT and OT systems is no longer sufficient, given the daily interconnectivity. Modern OT/ICS security programs should be an integral part of an organization's commitment to secure operations.
  3. Cybersecurity Strategies: Organizations must implement sophisticated cybersecurity strategies that evolve with the changing threat landscape. The cost of a breach can be devastating to both organizations and critical infrastructure.

The report from Rockwell Automation serves as a stark reminder of the escalating threat of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. With state-affiliated actors taking center stage in orchestrating these attacks, the need for immediate action to bolster cybersecurity measures cannot be overstated. The safety, security, and availability of critical services depend on the vigilance of organizations and their commitment to maintaining robust cybersecurity defenses. As the industrial sector navigates the evolving threat landscape, it is imperative that it adapts and evolves alongside it, to ensure a resilient and secure future.

How Novesh Can Help in this Matter

In the face of the growing cyber threat landscape targeting critical infrastructure, organizations need comprehensive solutions to bolster their cybersecurity defenses. Novesh, a leading cybersecurity firm with a proven track record in safeguarding critical assets, can play a pivotal role in addressing these challenges.

  1. Cutting-edge Technology: Novesh provides state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions tailored to the specific needs of critical infrastructure. Their advanced technologies, including intrusion detection systems, threat intelligence platforms, and real-time monitoring, can detect and mitigate threats before they escalate.
  2. Expertise in Industrial Security: Novesh understands the unique complexities of industrial cybersecurity. Their team of experts specializes in securing OT and ICS environments, ensuring that critical systems remain protected from evolving threats.
  3. Proactive Defense Strategies: Novesh takes a proactive approach to cybersecurity. By conducting comprehensive risk assessments, vulnerability assessments, and penetration testing, they identify vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them, enabling organizations to preemptively strengthen their defenses.
  4. Continuous Monitoring and Threat Intelligence: Novesh offers continuous monitoring services that provide real-time visibility into the security posture of critical infrastructure. Their threat intelligence capabilities keep organizations informed about emerging threats and vulnerabilities.
  5. Education and Training: Novesh believes that a well-informed workforce is a crucial line of defense. They offer comprehensive cybersecurity training and awareness programs to equip employees with the knowledge and skills needed to recognize and respond to threats.

In an era where cybersecurity threats are ever-evolving and the consequences of an attack on critical infrastructure are severe, Novesh stands as a trusted partner. Novesh is dedicated to building a more secure and resilient future for critical infrastructure and, by extension, society as a whole.

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