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Cyber Resilience Begins With Network Vigilance

By in Security & Compliance | July 12, 2019

 

The idea of a cyberattack on the power grid may invoke images of flickering lights and a race against the clock to block an intrusion – but, often the most serious threats aren’t that obvious or dramatic.

Cyber threats that target critical infrastructure facilities like the power grid are typically the work of sophisticated attackers who are well-funded and intent on gathering critical information that can cause real and widespread damage. The impact of such vulnerabilities isn’t always felt immediately, but these attacks are very methodical and target very specific areas and information, making them incredibly important to defend against for long-term resilience.

Let’s take a closer look at what typically constitutes a sophisticated cyberattack:

 

  • The attack is typically perpetrated by one of two groups – nation states or crime syndicates.
  • These organizations both have the large amounts of resources needed to execute very specific attacks against an organization’s infrastructure.
  • Motives tend to differentiate the two groups: Nation states are inspired to penetrate the defenses of a facility to obtain valuable information that could allow them to disrupt operations in the future for political purposes. The motivation for crime syndicates is almost always monetary.

Cyberattack threats have evolved into global occurrences, with the potential to affect every region of the world.

According to the 2018 State of Industrial Cybersecurity report, 51 percent of companies worldwide reported that they did not experience a security incident over the past 12 months—up from 46 percent in 2017. While at first glance these numbers appear to represent progress over last year, cyber-attacks are still significantly worrisome: 20 percent of industrial companies still encountered two or more threats within the same timeframe.

One might argue that fewer security incidents could simply mean that espionage-focused Nation State attacks have become more stealthy and harder to identify. This only emphasizes the importance of having a robust cybersecurity system in place. Fortunately for security teams, the industry’s protection strategies and tools continue to evolve alongside these threats.

So, at a high-level, how can we defend against hidden and sophisticated attacks?

 

  1. Conduct a thorough assessment of your own facility. Understanding where you are most at risk and identifying potential vulnerabilities within your operation will go a long way in fortifying your defenses against incoming attacks.
  2. Know and understand your adversary. Having a better understanding of the motives behind potential perpetrators threat actors is one of the most important elements to building up your defenses.
  3. Identify which strategies can be employed to mitigate different types of threats. This is the first step in closing the pathways into your network and knowing how to recognize when your network is being watched.
  4. Make sure your infrastructure remains in compliance with relevant industry standards. Compliance to relevant standards provides a reliable and measurable security baseline.
  5. Use automation to your advantage. It’s not just another trend—automation of security procedures offers round-the-clock vigilance to eliminate the risk of intrusion and lower the impact should an attack occur.

With cybercrime projected to cost enterprises a total of $2 trillion globally by the end of 2019, it pays to keep your infrastructure one step ahead of the adversary. Although hackers won’t stop trying to get in, we can minimize their likelihood of success through strategically designed monitoring and mitigating measures.

 

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Doble Engineering Company

Doble Engineering Company