Press release

Industrial Cybersecurity Strategies Need Radical Rethink to Address Fast Evolving Threat Horizon

Sponsored by Businesswire

The paradigm shift brought forth by Industry 4.0 and the Industrial
Internet of Things (IIoT) is significantly enhancing the digital and
connectivity capabilities of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) across
multiple verticals including manufacturing, oil and gas, critical
infrastructure, and nuclear power. It has also opened the floodgates to
serious cybersecurity risks, threatening to cause billions of dollars in
damage to industrial operations worldwide. Despite the imminent danger,
cybersecurity investment within the ICS market is severely lagging,
expected to barely cross the US$2 billion mark by 2025, according to ABI
, a global tech market advisory firm.

“Over the past years, this shift has allowed internet-borne cyberthreats
to find their way into traditionally sheltered industrial networks,
wreaking havoc to severely underprepared systems. The cybersecurity
threats faced in ICS are unlike any other,” warns Dimitrios Pavlakis,
Industry Analyst for ABI Research. “ICS are, quite literally, powering
the world’s leading and most critical industries. A well-placed
cyberattack can cause human casualties, billions in infrastructure
damage, and even bring certain operations of a country’s critical
infrastructure to a grinding halt.” Social engineering, combined with
cyberattacks like LockerGoga, WannaCry, notPetya, Triton, Sauron,
CrashOverRide, DragonFly, and many of their mutations, have proved that
digitized industrial systems are not only quite vulnerable but also a
very attractive target for cyber-attackers.

At the root of the problem is the juxtaposition of IT and OT. IT
security integration is expected to absorb almost 80% of the ICS
security in 2019, which is primarily lead by successful Security
Information and Event Management (SIEM) implementations. That is
expected to drop below 70% by 2025 when other investment sources like OT
asset management, threat intelligence, encryption, and ID management
will increase considerably. Additionally, while threat intelligence,
encryption, and ID Management in ICS will start slowly, they are
expected to grow almost threefold in investment within the next five

“Industrial cybersecurity strategies need a radical rethink and should
be built from the OT ground up to address the evolving threat landscape.
Customizing IT security and placing into an OT environment is not the
answer but is one example of a strategy that is indicative of the
inherent confusion regarding the ICS cybersecurity landscape,” says
Pavlakis. Steering away from traditional “air-gapped” models (having no
external connections) and embracing the underlying premise of Industry
4.0 for ICS is not an easy task. The same security procedures,
protocols, network/user/device protection, and ID management that make
sense in corporate IT environments cannot be applied to industrial ones.
Doing so will not only serve to exacerbate the underlying “IT versus OT”
issue but also will gravely hinder security operations and integrations
of security products with ICS equipment across the board.

While most companies deal primarily with network visibility issues,
there has been increased movement by both leading vendors and start-ups
attempting the address the future ICS cybersecurity challenges. Industry
giants in the OT space like Siemens, Schneider Electric, Honeywell, and
ABB are greatly enhancing digital security in their own lines of
industrial equipment. Other leading vendors are tackling issues
holistically (e.g., Forescout), offering application-specific
solutions (e.g., Sierra Wireless), or enhancing ICS components (e.g.,
Phoenix Contact). Finally, innovative start-ups like Dragos, Xage
Security, Sentryo, CyberX Labs, SCADAfence, and Veracity Industrial
Networks are focusing on network visibility, OT asset management,
interoperability, and integration with IT security products – with a key
emphasis on SIEM integration.

“Increasing security infrastructure investment without hindering
industrial operational objectives, managing the IT-OT convergence in a
streamlined approach, developing new KPIs for cybersecurity operations,
forcing the evolution of SIEMs and SOCs for ICS, and tending to the
rising concerns from AI-borne cyberthreats are the essential components
and should be used as the foundational building blocks in the
development of any ICS cybersecurity strategy,” Pavlakis concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Cybersecurity
for Industrial Control Systems
application analysis report. This
report is part of the company’s Digital
research service, which includes research, data, and ABI
Insights. Based on extensive primary interviews, Application
reports present in-depth analysis on key market trends and
factors for a specific application, which could focus on an individual
market or geography.

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