Cybersecurity In The Industrial Sector

Weaknesses in Industrial Control Systems Put Organizations in Risks

With the rapid development of industrial informatization and the arrival of the IoT, the integration trend of industrialization and informatization is being the lead. Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are also using the latest computer network technology to improve the integration, interconnection and information management level of systems. In order to improve production efficiency and benefits in the future, the industrial control network will become more and more open, and it is impossible to completely isolate it. Therefore, this poses a challenge to the security of the ICS network.

The frequent information security incidents in various industrial industries indicate that the ICS has become the targets of illegal organizations and hackers, although it used to be considered relatively safe and relatively closed. Hacker attacks are spreading from the open Internet to closed industrial control networks. Many important industries related to the national economy and people’s livelihood, such as power, petroleum, petrochemicals, and military industries, are facing severe ICS network security threats. It is urgent to increase attention to ICS security to prevent industrial enterprises from being targeted by hackers. Here are examples of typical ICS network security incidents:

  • 2014, the hacker group Dragonfly created a virus that can block power supply or damage and hijack industrial control equipment. Thousands of power stations worldwide were attacked.
  • 2012, the Flame Flame virus, a malicious program that attacked multiple Middle Eastern countries, was found, which can collect sensitive information from various industries;
  • 2012, two U.S. power plants were attacked by a USB virus, infecting the industrial control systems of each plant, and data could be stolen;
  • 2011, Microsoft warned that the newly discovered “Duqu” virus could collect intelligence data from manufacturers of industrial control systems;
  • 2011, hackers attacked the data collection and monitoring system and caused damage to the water pump in the urban water supply system in Illinois, USA;
  • 2011 and 2010, two Chinese petrochemical companies were infected with the Conficker virus, which caused the control system server and controller communication to be interrupted;
  • 2010, Siemens detected the Stuxnet virus that specifically attacked the company’s industrial control system;
  • 2010, the Stuxnet virus penetrated the control network through the USB of peripheral devices, changed the programs and data in the PLC, and caused serious damage to Iran’s nuclear facilities;
  • 2008, the attacker invaded a subway system in a Polish city and changed the track switch via a TV remote control, causing four cars to derail;
  • 2007, the attacker invaded a water conservancy SCADA control system in Canada and destroyed the control computer of the water intake dispatching;

Enterprises should absolutely commit to industrial cybersecurity and weigh the risks and benefits of adopting these new technologies. Even though enterprises would definitely want to leverage better connectivity to improve efficiency and enable new use cases, they also have to seriously consider the cybersecurity threats that adopting these technologies can introduce to their infrastructures. Meanwhile, as security vendors are continually developing their tools to accommodate all these challenges, organizations and facilities should apply security strategies and practices when new components and endpoints are added to their infrastructure.



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