Reinforcing Cybersecurity in the Era Industrial Automation Industry

Automation Industry

The increased use of IT solutions in the industrial industry has led the management of the control systems to a difficult level, making it vulnerable to outside breaches, especially cyber-attacks. As a general precaution, industries should always be ready for any unexpected situations, activities or occasions and mainly assaults. Industries are in a search of vital security solutions due to the proliferation of cyber-attacks over the past decade. These attacks have rendered companies in the loss of their brand power, monetary loss, damage to the equipment, and infrastructure, tearing alongside the trust of quality and confidential information.
Threats to industrial automation are very much different from IT threats. The difference lies in the matters of workplace security, production downtime, process disruptions and physical damage to plants, assets, and humans. Sometimes, the IT technologies lack the abilities to support industrial automation and are unable to implement safety measures and policies which are necessary to stop the threats. Companies are trying hard to avoid such attacks and set a barrier against cyber-attacks. The current day scenario of the open and collaborative market has made the industry prone to these breaches. These dangers come from the web, connected corporate systems, and unauthorized access and many more.

The Exponential Increase in the Cyber Assaults
Industrial automation industry increased their concern about the cyber breaches after seeing the aftermath of such breaches. The common credence that the industrial automation industries are immune to cyber-attacks as long as they are isolated from the internet is no longer applicable in today’s digital world. These increased threats are a major concern with the increasing level of automation, digitization, and dependence on IT solutions. The agendas behind such attacks are monetary, competitive, political, social gain, and sometimes personal. Cyber-attacks are primary aimed at DCS (distributed control system), PLCs (programmable logic controller), SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition), and HMI (human machine interface). These attacks enter an organization through the loopholes left around unsecured remote access, inadequate firewalls, and less network segmentation.
The past decade has a memorable history of cyber-attacks. Australia’s Maroochy Shire’s SCADA was compromised in March 2000. In Poland, public tram system was hijacked remotely in January 2008 and Google faced the wrath of the attack when its china domain got attacked in 2008. The federal agencies reported around 782% increases in such attacks to US-CERT. The year 2011 witnessed CERT registered with around 200 incidents related to cyber-attacks. One important thing to notice is that these attacks were registered as these were public; many such attacks have gone unnoticed over the long years.
Attack Vectors

Cyber-attacks are driven by economic, competition, and political agendas. The organizations have no control over such vectors. The basic attack compromises physical security and control system vulnerabilities. Breaches happened through physical security includes unsecured gates and physical access to servers. These are the internal error and internal threats where malicious attacks happen from employees and third party personnel. Control system vulnerabilities include network loopholes i.e. unsecured remote areas, inadequate firewalls, and lack of network segregation. Other loopholes include out-dated hardware and software and external devices like PCs, USBs, mobile devices. The past half-decade has forced companies to implement patches and anti-malware solutions. There is a specific need of commitment to be formed within the different corporations because the cybersecurity is now present in the world in a vast form.
Barriers Improving Cybersecurity
The first step in improving the barrier stand is to welcome the open industrial environment. In the past, old organisation networks were isolated from each other and they only depend upon their proprietary hardware and software. Now there is a need to form a collaborative mechanism both internally and externally. The open and collaborative system will increase productivity along with profitability. The second step is to overcome the inadequate end-user awareness. In comparison to other industries, the industrial industry has a low level of awareness. Other businesses have detailed cyber plans and procedures in case of any type of breaches. One reason not to implement such plans is that the cybersecurity does not generate money. It’s just not a good return on investment (ROI). The task of analyzing the threats and risks are daunting and huge in size. The analysts have a vision they can only create plans and procedures, but cannot take action against such threats. The third step is to increase the IT solutions. increasing it solution does open to vulnerabilities, but it can be more beneficial in strengthening the security divisions. The benefits offered are an increase in ease of operation and working space. The fourth inadequate step is to increase the skilled manpower. The industrial sector prides itself on its manpower. However, there is less technical expertise available in that manpower and the industry should increase its technical manpower.
Partnering with the Right Solution Provider
The most effective way of protecting digital technologies is to establish cybersecurity measures and mechanism in the industrial plant as early as possible when any mischievousness is recognised. Firms must understand the technical aspects of the cyber security involving industrial environment. The firms should partner up with others firms whose services centers around security. These companies are equipped for effective and efficient cybersecurity, sometimes having experience in working for the both IACS (industrial automation and control systems) and cybersecurity principles. The companies forming ecosystem must commit to the safety together. Enterprises must understands that cybersecurity is not a one-time adventure but a long and learning adjustment.

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