Weaknesses in Industrial Control Systems Put Organizations in Risks

Weaknesses in Industrial Control Systems Put Organizations in Risks

The Industrial Control System (ICS) is a collective term used to describe different types of control systems and associated instrumentation, which includes the devices, systems, networks, and controls used to operate and/or automate industrial processes. Depending on the industry, each ICS functions differently and is built to electronically manage tasks efficiently. The research conducted by PAS Global recently disclosed that more than 10,000 industrial endpoints are impacted by over 380,000 known vulnerability. Among these vulnerabilities, a huge part of them is found impacting Microsoft software. By analyzing the Industrial Control Systems, researchers found out that some legitimate and deeply rooted product features and functions can actually pose a threat to organizations in some ways. In addition, researchers figured out that design flaws and weaknesses in many organizations’ Industrial Control Systems could be used by malicious actors for a wide range of purposes such as causing disruption and physical damage.

Various types of ICS such as Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI), Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), and Distributed Control Systems (DCS), are impacted by these vulnerabilities. Besides, it is easy to exploit most vulnerabilities as it only requires network access or basic privileges. In the study, 2 types of issues were identified:

  • Ubiquitous weaknesses, which affect a wide range of products;
  • Unique weaknesses, which are specific to a product.

The term “Industrial Control System” indicated that departments outside the enterprise IT function such as production, engineering, and maintenance, generally implement and manage systems and applications. Therefore, it is important to understand and address the differences in the way security has typically been handled between the business side and the ICS operational side. So that a unified cyber risk program incorporating the ICS environment can be established. Here is some example security measures could be taken in order to thwart an attack:

  • Adopting configuration management for the most critical systems and assets;
  • Passive network monitoring for catching anomalous traffic and behavior and performing be an indicator if something goes wrong in an industry.;
  • Applying security patches to vulnerable devices.



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