According to Kaspersky Lab, just last year, at every second, industrial companies suffered between one to five cyber attacks. On average, these failures in cyber security can cost about 445k euros to these companies.
The growing trend of Industry 4.0 is making cyber security a top priority for industrial companies around the world, adding new challenges to deal with Industrial Control Systems (ICS). Challenges include convergence between IT and operational technologies (OT), as well as the availability of industrial control networks for external suppliers. To gain a better understanding of ICS business issues today, Kaspersky Lab in collaboration with Business Advantage has conducted a global survey of 359 industrial cybersecurity professionals between February and April of this year.
One of the main conclusions drawn from this study is the difference between reality and the perception of ICS incidents. For example, while 83% of respondents believe they are well prepared to deal with this kind of incidents, half of the inquired companies have experienced between one and five incidents of cyber security in the past 12 months and 4% have experienced more than six. These facts raise an important question: what should be changed in security strategies in IT so these professionals can protect their company’s data and processes more efficiently?
In fact, according to Kaspersky Lab’s findings, ICS companies are well aware of the risks they face: 74% of respondents believe that a cyber attack can happen to their infrastructures. Despite the high alert for new threats, such as targeted attacks and ransomware, the most sensitive point for most ICS companies remains traditional malware, with 56% of respondents considering it to be one of the most troubling vectors.
The top 3 after-incident consequences includes damage in the quality of products and services, the loss of proprietary or confidential information, and the reduction or loss of production at a location.
About 86% of companies surveyed have an approved and documented cyber security policy in ICS to protect themselves from potential incidents, however, and adding the difficulty on finding IT security expertise both internally and externally, industry firms admit that this lack of skills is the highest concern with regard to the safety of ICS. This situation is extremely alarming, since it indicates that industrial enterprises are not always ready to fight these attacks, which means that they are permanently exposed.
“Internal threats are the most dangerous. We are fairly well protected against external threats, but what is done internally has a direct path without a protective barrier in the middle. The threat arises unconsciously from team members “- admitted an ICS professional from a product manufacturing facility in Germany.
On the other hand, the security strategies adopted by ICS professionals appear to be relatively solid. Detection of industrial threats or anomalies is specially relevant as each ICS company that was inquired has admitted that external suppliers have access to the industrial control networks in their enterprise which increases the perimeter of the threats.
“Increasing the interconnection between IT and OT systems creates new security challenges and requires a high level of readiness by engineers and IT security teams (…),” said Andrey Suvorov, Director of Protection For Critical Infrastructures at Kaspersky Lab. “(…) Reducing security incidents will be much easier for those who have leveraged the benefits of a tailored security solution built with the needs of ICS in mind.”