After the global outbreak of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), organizations quickly transitioned to remote work in order to enforce social distancing and to keep their employees safe. But this work-from-home arrangement opened up organizations to more risk as well as less redundancy and resilience. That’s especially the case for organizations with operational technology (OT) assets, as these entities need to make sure that their dispersed teams and technology can swiftly respond to potential service interruptions. They also need to withstand the surge of attacks that the security community has witnessed over the past few months.

Many of these attacks have specifically targeted organizations and their OT environments. As an example of this, the New York Times covered an announcement from the U.S., British and Canadian governments that Russian hackers had attempted to steal COVID-19 vaccine research. That type of information is invaluable, as it functions as a key by which government officials can reopen their nations’ economies. In attempting to steal it, those malicious actors could give an advantage to their home country’s government as well as sow uncertainty surrounding vaccine research efforts sponsored by Western countries.

Simultaneously, nefarious individuals abused the cover afforded by COVID-19 to target pharmaceutical and automotive organizations. Back in the beginning of March, for instance, TechCrunch reported that a parts manufacturer for both Tesla and SpaceX had confirmed a data breach after suffering an infection at the hands of DoppelPaymer ransomware. Less than two months later, a U.S. pharmaceutical company disclosed a ransomware incident in which attackers had encrypted its servers and stolen corporate and employee information, as noted by Infosecurity Magazine.

Growing Collaboration in Defending OT Assets against IT Threats

Some of us might have written off 2020, but the incidents highlighted above clearly indicate that bad actors haven’t. It’s therefore important (Read more...)