Threats against industrial environments are on the rise. Near the beginning of 2019, for example, Kaspersky Lab revealed that 47% of industrial control system (ICS) computers on which its software was installed suffered a malware infection in the past year. That was three percent higher than the previous year.

These digital threats confronting ICS systems come from a variety of sources including nation-state actors. Take Iran, for instance. Over the past several years, the United States Department of Justice has charged Iranians with hacking into U.S. financial institutions, accessing a dam located in New York State and using SamSam ransomware to prey on schools and hospitals. More recently, the Department of Homeland Security warned organizations that Iran could use digital attacks as a means of retaliating for the killing of General Soleimani by the United States.

The Need to Defend Your ICS Systems

Fortunately, industrial organizations can protect themselves against these and other digital threats. This effort should begin with them building an inventory of all devices that are connected to their environments. Having this type of inventory is essential to industrial organizations’ digital security, as it allows security personnel to monitor connected assets’ configurations, manage vulnerabilities and address unapproved devices.

In the absence of an asset inventory, organizations are essentially in the dark. As David Bisson wrote in another blog post for The State of Security:

Organizations can’t protect ICS devices, systems, and networks including those responsible for controlling critical infrastructures if they’re unaware of their existence. Otherwise, they simply use ignorance to assume that they’re secure, thereby placing them into a position of reacting to security incidents instead of proactively defending against them. Even if they are aware of these devices, industrial organizations can still expose themselves to risk by not consistently implementing security measures (Read more...)