Titaniam

Titaniam selected to Gartner's Cool Vendors in Data Security for substantially reducing the risk of ransomware and other cyberattacks.

Titaniam selected to Gartner's Cool Vendors in Data Security for substantially reducing the risk of ransomware and other cyberattacks.

Titaniam selected to Gartner's Cool Vendors in Data Security for substantially reducing the risk of ransomware and other cyberattacks.

Are you overlooking the security threats to your OT?

Keeping data secure is an important and challenging task for businesses of any scale. While keeping a company’s data safe is a hugely invested-in space, the OT is often an ignored component in the entire tech framework.

Did you know that 9 out of 10 organizations experienced at least one OT system intrusion in the year 2020!

Before understanding why OT security is important, let’s understand what is OT and what are some major threats it faces.

What is Operational Technology (OT) and OT Security?

By definition, systems devised to be implemented in key infrastructure, production, and related industries are referred to as operational technology (OT).

These include anything that may involve Building Automation Systems (BAS) like the production line management in manufacturing or Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, or even systems like stop lights, elevators, etc.

They are everywhere and could be as basic as escalators to as complex as nuclear facilities! And they can be managed by single endpoints or multiple endpoints depending on the complexity of the system.

In short, OT is the network of hardware and software deployed to operate and control the physical mechanisms in an industry. The software supports the hardware in communicating with each other to enable optimum functionality of the entire system. They are like a network within a network and often forgotten when it comes to security posture.

These are the few technologies within the OT that you must know:

 

technologies within the OT

 

  1. ICS – Industrial Control Systems – monitors and controls industrial processes
  2. PLC – Programmable Logic Controllers – a part of ICS that manages the continuous process control systems like conveyor belts that need to keep moving or stopping only as per computer fed instructions.
  3. DPC – Discrete Process Control System – a part of ICS that manages the batch process control devices for discrete processes and outputs in an industry.
  4. SCADA – Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition – this is the technology behind the alarms or graphic lights displayed on devices.

What if someone tries to breach THESE processes?

Your entire operations can come to a standstill and the consequential repercussions can be huge!

A lot of what we see today is the result of the widespread adoption of OT across industrial processes like manufacturing, product handling, supply chain, and distribution line management.

Traditionally, OT systems were isolated from IT environments. However, with the adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), the lines between the two are blurring; necessitating the need to re-evaluate the security posture holistically.

This includes investing in stronger ‘OT security measures’ alongside IT security. It’s interesting to note, based on a study, Gartner has predicted – by 2025, 75% of OT security solutions will be interoperable with IT security solutions and delivered via multifunction platforms.

So, let’s learn more about the vulnerabilities to understand the gravity of the consequences and the solutions to the same.

How is OT Prone to Attacks?

A larger chunk of OT security professionals perceives a system’s ability to run continuously as more essential than its ability to be completely secure.

However, with the soaring demand for internet-connected devices in industries, the threats to OT are as grave as to the IT systems. Hence, OT systems are becoming common targets for cyberattacks, malware, and ransomware.

The 3 common reasons for the vulnerability of OT security are:

  1. The majority of businesses have direct access to the internet. It is widely known that all it takes is one internet-connected device for hackers to implement malware into OT channels.
  2. Many businesses have at least one malfunctioning wireless access point which can be accessed by a variety of devices, including laptops. Security access control setups must be evaluated to reveal any misconfigurations to prevent malware attacks.
  3. Security attacks are highly common to outdated OTs that do not support the latest security updates. To avoid compromise, all systems, including entry points, must be recorded and updated to the most recent OT security standards.

Cyber Security Threats to Operational Technology

Asset owners must address security issues immediately given the growing regularity of attacks and newly discovered security flaws in Industrial Control Systems (ICS).

 

Quote by Chip Harris, Senior Cybersecurity Engineer, Digital Management, Inc. (DMI), USA

 

The three major OT cyber security threats listed below provide an outline of the most common dangers and the respective OT security best practices:

1. Negligence:

Almost all OT attacks target the most vulnerable parts of OT security networks that aren’t subject to protocol standardization.

  • An unauthorized or inaccurately configured software can compromise data and storage systems. For example, Employees can unintentionally install malware by opening emails, playing games, or plugging-in USB devices.
  • IT teams are also frequently challenged by the number of next-generation routers that must be managed, updated, or provisioned regularly.

Solution: To overcome the challenge of negligence, it is important to backup data and introduce policies that manage security to regulate configuration management.

2. DDoS attacks and IoT-botnets

IoT-botnets, which are monitored by Command and Control (C&C) channels, have become one of the well-known cyber threats. These C&C systems, which could be used to release Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, are operated by the attacker.

Solution: As the use of IoT devices grows, so does the danger of botnet Attacks. As a result, using DDoS protection methods of preventing massive traffic levels is considered the strongest cyber security target.

3. Malware Infection

Malware infections are not only a result of human activity but also because of the use of standardized parts like web database systems.

  • The concept of air gapping (isolating your OT from any external connections and the internet) your OT is becoming difficult with the growing use of IoT within the industry.
  • With new vulnerabilities being discovered almost every day, these flaws are being exploited to deploy malware, allowing the malicious attacker to obtain sensitive information.

Solution: Constant and prompt patching as well as around-the-clock monitoring of applications and OT security in the workplace and back-end channels.

In addition to the above challenges, the widespread adoption of the cloud also poses a major threat to business data. With the growing developments in technology and advancements in machinery, the rate of cyber-attacks has also increased, with the most common intrusions being malware (60%), phishing (43%), and hackers (39%). Thus, emphasizing the significance of cybersecurity for your business’ OT.

Remember, it’s not the devices but the processes that need to be secured. It’s the software controlling the process information that manages the devices. Hence, unlike the popular assumption, your physical network of devices also works on DATA (OT) that MUST be secured at all times!

To know more, check out our Red Summit page, where leaders in the Data Security space have shared their thoughts and views.