Operational technology (OT) is a broad term the hardware and software used to control industrial processes. OT systems are used in a wide variety of industries, including energy, manufacturing, and transportation.
Today we will offer a little more insight into this niche area of cyber security & expose some of the common problems &vulnerabilities found in OT systems.
A simple way to describe the threat is that OT systems are often not as well-protected as other (IT) systems because they are typically designed for reliability and performance, rather than security.
As a result, OT systems are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Despite the obvious ever-changing global landscape, increasing the threat of hacks. Many issues can be managed through training& embedding adequate personnel;
OT systems are often outdated and have known vulnerabilities. This is because OT systems are typically designed to last for many years. As a result, they may not be updated with the latest security patches.
For example, in 2017, a cyber attack targeted the NotPetya ransomware. The attackers were able to exploit a vulnerability in a Microsoft Windows software system to gain access to a number of systems, including OT systems. They were then able to encrypt the data on these systems, making them unusable.
We’re not saying a system update would have completely changed this outcome, but it may well have reduced the damage caused by the attack.
OT systems are often used by people who are not trained in cyber security, this is because OT systems are typically designed for use by engineers and technicians, hackers, on the other hand, will want to exploit this point significantly, especially if the system is located in a remote area. This is because they are typically used to control industrial processes that are naturally located in remote areas. This can make it difficult to secure these systems & provide ongoing protection.