What is it?

Industrial organizations are moving rapidly to take advantage of IT technologies in their Operational Technology (OT) environment to become more competitive. In this digital transformation, interconnected systems and data analytics, Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA), Industrial Control Systems (ICS), Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) and Smart Sensors are added into the manufacturing process. Along with the benefits of increased efficiency and shared data come mounting OT security risks to the infrastructure.

Initially, OT had little resemblance to traditional information technology (IT) systems in that OT were isolated systems running proprietary control protocols using specialized hardware and software. Many OT components were in physically secured areas and the components were not connected to IT networks or systems. Widely available, low-cost Internet Protocol (IP) devices are now replacing proprietary solutions, which increases the possibility of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and incidents. As OT are adopting IT solutions to promote corporate business systems connectivity and remote access capabilities, and are being designed and implemented using industry standard computers, operating systems (OS) and network protocols, they are starting to resemble IT systems. This integration supports new IT capabilities, but it provides significantly less isolation for OT from the outside world than predecessor systems, creating a greater need to secure these systems. The increasing use of wireless networking places OT implementations at greater risk from adversaries who are in relatively close physical proximity but do not have direct physical access to the equipment. While security solutions have been designed to deal with these security issues in typical IT systems, special precautions must be taken when introducing these same solutions to OT environment. In some cases, new security solutions are needed that are tailored to the OT environment.

Why do companies need OT security?

OT and ICS are on cybercriminals’ radar as these historically partitioned technologies face a connected future that depends on remote access and cloud resources. High-value functions combined with outdated defense make these tools prime targets for cybercriminals and regular victims of accidental infection. Industrial firms can be particularly difficult environments to protect. Given the essential services they provide, these systems are highly lucrative targets for cybercriminals.

The high cost of industrial equipment and the devastation to communities and economies that an attack could generate are key factors for organizations looking to protect their industrial networks. Add legacy equipment, safety regulations that may prohibit any modifications being made to equipment and compliance regulations that require sensitive data to be made available to third parties, and you have quite a challenge on your hands.

How can we help?

We deliver in-depth penetration testing and security assessments for industrial control systems, including appropriately cautious testing of live production environment.