Industrial cybersecurity is all over the news, and not in a good way. Our most vital industries – including power, water, nuclear, oil and gas, chemical, food and beverage, and critical manufacturing – are under attack. The gravity of the situation became clear when the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security went public in October about existing, persistent threats. Virtually or not, bad actors are among us.
Unlike physical attacks, cyberattacks are nonstop. Cyber hackers have graduated from simple mischief and denial-of-service attacks to ransomware, theft of competitive information, interception or altering of communications, the shutdown of industrial processes, and even knowledge manipulation through the news and social networks (it’s bigger than just politics). Who knows what’s next?
Digitalization and connectivity are heightening cyber risk, though they are foundational to the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, Big Data analytics, and artificial intelligence. Breaching a single connected operational technology (OT) device or system puts everything on the network at risk.