Chemical Cybersecurity Challenges
Chemical manufacturing companies have invested heavily in automation and information technology to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency in their production environments. For example, the industrial (ICS/SCADA) networks responsible for the manufacture of chemical products’ are now connected to new management systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution system (MES). This is in addition to continued adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)/Industrie 4.0 technologies that enhance productivity. The downside is that improved connectivity and the adoption of new technologies introduce new risks to operational and business continuity.
A major threat to companies in the chemical industry is adversaries aiming to affect operational continuity by sabotaging industrial networks and processes. As seen in the attack against the German iron plant, hackers now leverage the connectivity between the IT and OT environments to penetrate production networks. Once they gain access to the production network, they aim to disrupt operations and cause operational downtime. Besides losing availability, a cyber-attack can target the chemical product’s ingredients and manipulate them. This can lead to loss of revenue and can even prove deadly if defective products are released to the market.