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Critical Infrastructure News

Attacks on control processes supported by operational technology (OT) are often perceived as necessarily complex. This is because disrupting or modifying a control process to cause a predictable effect is often quite difficult and can require a lot of time and resources. However, Mandiant Threat Intelligence has observed simpler attacks, where actors with varying levels of skill and resources use common IT tools and techniques to gain access to and interact with exposed OT systems.

The activity is typically not sophisticated and is normally not targeted against specific organizations. Rather, the compromises appear to be driven by threat actors who are motivated to achieve ideological, egotistical, or financial objectives by taking advantage of an ample supply of internet-connected OT systems. As the actors are not interested in causing specific physical outcomes, they target whatever is available on the internet.

Read more: FireEye

There is a saying in cybersecurity that “Data is the new oil.” If that is true, then that oil is powering not only the economy but also industry. The term ‘Industry 4.0’ refers to the fourth industrial revolution where traditional manufacturing and industrial processes are increasingly using IT and data to the point that we’re now seeing the emergence of ‘smart factories.’

From the management and control of power and water to the management and control of farms, Operational Technology (OT) control machinery ensures they run effectively and efficiently. OT devices are increasingly becoming part of our IT world, and although the convergence has been happening for some time, it would seem we are only just beginning to recognize its significance.

Read more: Tripwire

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) last week released a cybersecurity advisory focusing on the security of operational technology (OT) systems, particularly in terms of connectivity to IT systems.

The NSA’s advisory, titled “Stop Malicious Cyber Activity Against Connected Operational Technology,” is specifically addressed to the Department of Defense, national security system (NSS) and defense industrial base organizations, but the recommendations can be useful to any industrial company.

The advisory shares recommendations for evaluating risks and improving the securing of connections between IT systems — these can often serve as an entry point into industrial networks — and OT systems.

Read more: Security Week

IBM Security’s annual X-Force Threat Intelligence Index uses data derived from across our teams and managed customers to gather insights about the topmost targeted industries every year, helping organizations manage risk and resource investment in their security programs.

When it comes to managing digital risk and facing potential cyberattacks, each industry faces its own unique attack landscape, as different threat actors, motivations, assets and geopolitical events drive adversarial activity in each sector.

To map the most targeted industries, IBM used data insights from 2020 attacks to look at what can be expected in 2021. The data showed finance, manufacturing and energy at the very top of a list of targeted sectors.

Read more: Security Intelligence