The Fourth Industrial Revolution Brings New Risks

The adoption of advanced connectivity and IT technologies in operational networks, as part of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)/Industrie 4.0 revolution has enabled manufacturers to benefit from increased productivity and reduced costs. Together with the benefits, the technological changes have exposed mission-critical systems such as ICS/SCADA networks to new cyber risks. Malicious risks such as operational downtime and product manipulation can cause substantial revenue loss and damage a company’s reputation.

The United States Department of Homeland Security reported a 20% increase in the number of cyber-attacks targeted at industrial networks in 2015. The attack on the German iron plant, the Havex/Dragonfly campaign, and the ransomware attack phenomenon have proven that smart manufacturers are now a prime target for hackers.

Industrial Cybersecurity Challenges

Ensuring Operational Continuity

The cost of downtime in a manufacturer’s operational environment is significant and has a direct impact on the company’s revenue stream. According to a survey by Nielsen Research, operational downtime in the automotive industry could cost up to $1.3M per hour. The risk of downtime increases once attackers gain access to connected manufacturing networks. Adversaries can shut down production lines or even destroy expensive machinery, causing significant damage and losses.

Preventing Product Manipulation

Process and product manipulation – due to deliberate sabotage – may result in a devastating outcome for the company. When tampering is sophisticated enough to evade detection, it can actually endanger the product’s users, and therefore destroy the company’s public reputation. Even if discovered in time, the tampering may force the company to dispose of an entire production batch, at a potential cost of millions of dollars.

Protecting Competitive Edge

In the competitive and fast-changing industrial landscape, knowing a rival company’s production capabilities and cost structures is crucial – so crucial, that competitors and cybercriminals may try to target industrial environments in order to gain access to formulas, recipes, production methods and other sensitive information. Cyber-attacks such as Dragonfly/Havex highlight the motivation for theft of proprietary manufacturing information and intellectual property.

Industrial Attacks Impact

Loss of revenue

Reputation damage

Loss of competitive edge

Regulatory intervention

IT Solutions Are Inadequate

Industrial (ICS/SCADA) and IT networks are fundamentally different, as they are designed for different purposes and make use of a different set of equipment and architectures. Therefore, the traditional IT and security solutions available today are unfit for industrial networks. Solutions designed for IT networks do not understand the industrial characteristics, devices and protocols, and therefore cannot achieve their full potential in production networks. For example, a solution that is unaware of a production network’s behavior cannot detect threats beyond basic signatures. In addition, solutions designed for IT networks are not well-suited or high-availability systems, as they often require an intrusive integration process or utilize active components, adding unnecessary risks that can jeopardize operational availability.

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