One of the arguments against a cybersecurity program is “we have never been attacked so why should we spend the money,” and while that may appear to be true, the truth is everyone is facing some kind of attack scenario.

Take a look at a new report coming out from Kaspersky Lab. They found over last year, their technology detected and prevented activity by malicious objects on almost half of industrial control system (ICS) computers protected by the company’s products and defined as part of an organization’s industrial infrastructure.

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The most affected countries were Vietnam, Algeria and Tunisia. These are some of the main findings of the Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT report on the industrial threat landscape in H2 2018.

Malicous cyber activities on ICS computers are considered a dangerous threat as they could potentially cause material losses and production downtime in the operation of industrial facilities.

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In 2018, the share of ICS computers that experienced such activities grew to 47.2 percent from 44 percent in 2017, indicating the threat is rising.

The top three countries in terms of the percentage of ICS computers on which Kaspersky Lab prevented malicious activity were the following: Vietnam (70.09 percent), Algeria (69.91 percent), and Tunisia (64.57 percent), according to the new report. The least impacted nations were Ireland (11.7 percent), Switzerland (14.9 percent), and Denmark (15.2 percent).

“Despite the common myth, the main source of threat to industrial computers is not a targeted attack, but mass-distributed malware that gets into industrial systems by accident, over the Internet, through removable media such as USB-sticks, or emails,” said Kirill Kruglov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT. “However, the fact that the attacks are successful because of a casual attitude to cybersecurity hygiene among employees means that they can potentially be prevented by staff training and awareness – this is much easier than trying to stop determined threat actors.”

Kaspersky listed some recommendations:
• Regularly update operating systems, application software on systems that are part of the enterprise’s industrial network.
• Apply security fixes to PLC, RTU and network equipment used in ICS networks where applicable.
• Restrict network traffic on ports and protocols used on edge routers and inside the organization’s OT networks.
• Audit access control for ICS components in the enterprise’s industrial network and at its boundaries.
• Deploy dedicated endpoint protection solutions on ICS servers, workstations and HMIs, including network traffic monitoring, analysis and detection.
• Make sure security solutions are up-to-date and all the technologies recommended by the security solution vendor to protect from targeted attacks are enabled.
• Provide dedicated training and support for employees as well as partners and suppliers with access to your network.
• Use ICS network traffic monitoring, analysis and detection solutions for better protection from attacks potentially threatening technological process and main enterprise assets.

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