Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest exporter of crude oil, is a perfect case of how devastating a cyber attack can be on an industrial manufacturer.

In August 2012, Saudi Aramco (SA) had 30,000 personal computers on its network infected by a malware attack called the “Shamoon” virus.

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With the ever changing threats posed by cyber events of any nature, it has become critical to recognize these emerging threats, malicious or not, and identify the consequences these threats may have on the operation of an industrial control system (ICS).

Cyber attacks over time have the ability to take on many forms and threaten not only industrial but also national security.

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The seriousness of cyber attacks related to national security came to light when former United States Secretary of Defense Leon W. Panetta gave a speech one year ago issuing a strong warning to business executives about cyber security as it relates to national security.

“A cyber-attack perpetrated by nation states [and] violent extremists groups could be as destructive as the terrorist attack on 9/11. Such a destructive cyber-terrorist attack could virtually paralyze the nation,” he said. “For example, we know that foreign cyber actors are probing America’s critical infrastructure networks. They are targeting the computer control systems that operate chemical, electricity and water plants and those that guide transportation throughout this country.”

That just means attacks are here and they are going to get stronger. ICS professionals need to have a firm grasp of what security is all about and how to ward off any would be attackers.

Researchers at security provider, exida, wrote a whitepaper that will focus on the significance of cyber-attacks on industrial control systems (ICS) and how these attacks can end up prevented by proper practice of the ICS cyber security lifecycle.

Click here to download the white paper.

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