Securing Your Industrial Control Systems Today

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have detected a coordinated effort by malicious actors at compromising the country’s critical infrastructure. These infrastructures include those involved in government, aviation, power production, energy production, and some critical manufacturing sectors. Typically, part of these infrastructures include Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems that control the physical processes. These attacks are ongoing. The “ownership” of any one of these critical infrastructures by a malicious actor would cause significant economic and social distress to the United States. On October 20 and 21st, DHS and the FBI jointly published Technical Alert TA17-293A entitled “Advanced Persistent Threat Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors”. Let’s Look at These Attacks at a High Level The attackers are carefully choosing high-value targets rather than just randomly looking for targets of opportunity. They are conducting “open source” research on the targets by studying publically available information, which reveals business partners, data on employees, data on infrastructure and so-on. All of this data is useful for identifying targets and designing attacks. The present attacks follow a pattern of compromising weakly defended networks, typically operated by suppliers or...
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