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Considerations for Operational Technology Cybersecurity

Considerations for Operational Technology Cybersecurity
Apr 04, 2024 Operational Technology / Cybersecurity
Operational Technology (OT)  refers to the hardware and software used to change, monitor, or control the enterprise's physical devices, processes, and events. Unlike traditional Information Technology (IT) systems, OT systems directly impact the physical world. This unique characteristic of OT brings additional cybersecurity considerations not typically present in conventional IT security architectures. The convergence of IT and OT Historically, IT and Operational Technology (OT) have operated in separate silos, each with its own set of protocols, standards, and cybersecurity measures. However, these two domains are increasingly converging with the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). While beneficial in terms of increased efficiency and data-driven decision-making, this convergence also exposes OT systems to the same cyber threats that IT systems face. Unique Cybersecurity Considerations for OT Real-time requirements Operational Technology systems often opera

Making Sense of Operational Technology Attacks: The Past, Present, and Future

Making Sense of Operational Technology Attacks: The Past, Present, and Future
Mar 21, 2024 Operational Technology / SCADA Security
When you read reports about cyber-attacks affecting operational technology (OT), it's easy to get caught up in the hype and assume every single one is sophisticated. But are OT environments all over the world really besieged by a constant barrage of complex cyber-attacks? Answering that would require breaking down the different types of OT cyber-attacks and then looking back on all the historical attacks to see how those types compare.  The Types of OT Cyber-Attacks Over the past few decades, there has been a growing awareness of the need for improved cybersecurity practices in IT's lesser-known counterpart, OT. In fact, the lines of what constitutes a cyber-attack on OT have never been well defined, and if anything, they have further blurred over time. Therefore, we'd like to begin this post with a discussion around the ways in which cyber-attacks can either target or just simply impact OT, and why it might be important for us to make the distinction going forward. Figure 1 The Pu
Webinar: Learn How to Stop Hackers from Exploiting Hidden Identity Weaknesses

Webinar: Learn How to Stop Hackers from Exploiting Hidden Identity Weaknesses

Apr 10, 2024Webinar / Identity Security
We all know passwords and firewalls are important, but what about the invisible threats lurking beneath the surface of your systems? Identity Threat Exposures (ITEs) are like secret tunnels for hackers – they make your security way more vulnerable than you think. Think of it like this: misconfigurations, forgotten accounts, and old settings are like cracks in your digital fortress walls. Hackers exploit these weaknesses to steal login information, gain sneaky access, and move around your systems unnoticed, whether they're in the cloud or on-site. This upcoming webinar,  " Today's Top 4 Identity Security Threat Exposures: Are You Vulnerable? "  isn't just for tech experts—it's about protecting your business.  We'll use real-world examples and insights from Silverfort's latest report to show you the hidden dangers of ITEs. You'll learn about: The Top 4 Identity Threats You Might Be Overlooking:  We'll name them and explain why they're

High-Severity Flaws Uncovered in Bosch Thermostats and Smart Nutrunners

High-Severity Flaws Uncovered in Bosch Thermostats and Smart Nutrunners
Jan 15, 2024 Operational Technology / Network Security
Multiple security vulnerabilities have been disclosed in Bosch BCC100 thermostats and Rexroth NXA015S-36V-B smart nutrunners that, if successfully exploited, could allow attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected systems. Romanian cybersecurity firm Bitdefender, which  discovered  the flaw in Bosch BCC100 thermostats last August, said the issue could be weaponized by an attacker to alter the device firmware and implant a rogue version. Tracked as  CVE-2023-49722  (CVSS score: 8.3), the high-severity vulnerability was addressed by Bosch in November 2023. "A network port 8899 is always open in BCC101/BCC102/BCC50 thermostat products, which allows an unauthenticated connection from a local WiFi network," the company  said  in an advisory. The issue, at its core, impacts the WiFi microcontroller that acts as a network gateway for the thermostat's logic microcontroller. By exploiting the flaw, an attacker could send commands to the thermostat, including writing a malicious updat

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Russian Hackers Sandworm Cause Power Outage in Ukraine Amidst Missile Strikes

Russian Hackers Sandworm Cause Power Outage in Ukraine Amidst Missile Strikes
Nov 10, 2023 Cyber Warfare / Network Security
The notorious Russian hackers known as  Sandworm  targeted an electrical substation in Ukraine last year, causing a brief power outage in October 2022. The findings come from Google's Mandiant, which described the hack as a "multi-event cyber attack" leveraging a novel technique for impacting industrial control systems (ICS). "The actor first used OT-level living-off-the-land ( LotL ) techniques to likely trip the victim's substation circuit breakers, causing an unplanned power outage that coincided with mass missile strikes on critical infrastructure across Ukraine," the company  said . "Sandworm later conducted a second disruptive event by deploying a new variant of  CaddyWiper  in the victim's IT environment." The threat intelligence firm did not reveal the location of the targeted energy facility, the duration of the blackout, and the number of people who were impacted by the incident. The development marks Sandworm's  continuous

16 New CODESYS SDK Flaws Expose OT Environments to Remote Attacks

16 New CODESYS SDK Flaws Expose OT Environments to Remote Attacks
Aug 11, 2023 Operational Technology / Vulnerability
A set of 16 high-severity security flaws have been disclosed in the  CODESYS V3  software development kit (SDK) that could result in remote code execution and denial-of-service under specific conditions, posing risks to operational technology (OT) environments. The flaws, tracked from CVE-2022-47378 through CVE-2022-47393 and dubbed  CoDe16 , carry a CVSS score of 8.8 with the exception of CVE-2022-47391, which has a severity rating of 7.5. Twelve of the flaws are buffer overflow vulnerabilities. "Exploitation of the discovered vulnerabilities, which affect all versions of CODESYS V3 prior to version 3.5.19.0, could put operational technology (OT) infrastructure at risk of attacks, such as remote code execution (RCE) and denial-of-service (DoS)," Vladimir Tokarev of the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Community  said  in a report. While a successful weaponization of the flaws requires user authentication as well as an in-depth knowledge of the proprietary protocol of CODESY

5 Things CISOs Need to Know About Securing OT Environments

5 Things CISOs Need to Know About Securing OT Environments
Jun 28, 2023 Operational Technology
For too long the cybersecurity world focused exclusively on information technology (IT), leaving operational technology (OT) to fend for itself. Traditionally, few industrial enterprises had dedicated cybersecurity leaders. Any security decisions that arose fell to the plant and factory managers, who are highly skilled technical experts in other areas but often lack cybersecurity training or knowledge. In more recent years, an uptick in cyberattacks against industrial facilities and the trend of IT/OT convergence driven by Industry 4.0 have highlighted the vacuum of ownership around OT security.  According to a new Fortinet report , most organizations are looking to Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) to solve the problem. Fortunately, CISOs are no strangers to change or difficult challenges. The position itself is less than 20 years old, yet in those two decades CISOs have navigated some of the most disruptive cybersecurity events that were truly watershed moments in techno

Researchers Expose New Severe Flaws in Wago and Schneider Electric OT Products

Researchers Expose New Severe Flaws in Wago and Schneider Electric OT Products
Jun 20, 2023 Operational Technology
Three security vulnerabilities have been disclosed in operational technology (OT) products from Wago and Schneider Electric. The flaws, per Forescout, are part of a  broader   set  of  shortcomings  collectively called  OT:ICEFALL , which now comprises a total of 61 issues spanning 13 different vendors. "OT:ICEFALL demonstrates the need for tighter scrutiny of, and improvements to, processes related to secure design, patching and testing in OT device vendors," the company  said  in a report shared with The Hacker News. The most severe of the flaws is  CVE-2022-46680  (CVSS score: 8.8), which concerns the plaintext transmission of credentials in the ION/TCP protocol used by power meters from Schneider Electric. Successful exploitation of the bug could enable threat actors to gain control of vulnerable devices. It's worth noting that CVE-2022-46680 is one among the 56 flaws  originally unearthed  by Forescout in June 2022. The other two new security holes ( CVE-2023

5 Reasons Why IT Security Tools Don't Work For OT

5 Reasons Why IT Security Tools Don't Work For OT
Jun 06, 2023 Operational Technology Security
Attacks on critical infrastructure and other OT systems are on the rise as digital transformation and OT/IT convergence continue to accelerate. Water treatment facilities, energy providers, factories, and chemical plants — the infrastructure that undergirds our daily lives could all be at risk. Disrupting or manipulating OT systems stands to pose real physical harm to citizens, environments, and economies. Yet the landscape of OT security tools is far less developed than its information technology (IT) counterpart. According to a recent  report from Takepoint Research and Cyolo , there is a notable lack of confidence in the tools commonly used to secure remote access to industrial environments.  Figure 1: New research reveals a large gap across industries between the level of concern about security risks and the level of confidence in existing solutions for industrial secure remote access (I-SRA). The traditional security strategy of industrial environments was isolation – isolatio

Beyond Traditional Security: NDR's Pivotal Role in Safeguarding OT Networks

Beyond Traditional Security: NDR's Pivotal Role in Safeguarding OT Networks
Apr 20, 2023 OT and ICS Security
Why is Visibility into OT Environments Crucial? The significance of Operational Technology (OT) for businesses is undeniable as the OT sector flourishes alongside the already thriving IT sector. OT includes industrial control systems, manufacturing equipment, and devices that oversee and manage industrial environments and critical infrastructures. In recent years, adversaries have recognized the lack of detection and protection in many industrial systems and are actively exploiting these vulnerabilities. In response, IT security leaders have become more aware of the need to protect their OT environments with security monitoring and response capabilities. This development was accelerated by severe past cyber incidents targeting critical OT environments and even causing physical damage to infrastructures. Given the pivotal role these systems play in business operations and modern society, ensuring their security is of utmost importance. The underlying trend is clear: OT and IoT networ

3 New Vulnerabilities Affect OT Products from German Companies Festo and CODESYS

3 New Vulnerabilities Affect OT Products from German Companies Festo and CODESYS
Nov 30, 2022
Researchers have disclosed details of three new security vulnerabilities affecting operational technology (OT) products from CODESYS and Festo that could lead to source code tampering and denial-of-service (DoS). The vulnerabilities, reported by Forescout Vedere Labs, are the latest in a long list of flaws collectively tracked under the name  OT:ICEFALL . "These issues exemplify either an insecure-by-design approach — which was usual at the time the products were launched – where manufacturers include dangerous functions that can be accessed with no authentication or a subpar implementation of security controls, such as cryptography," the researchers  said . The most critical of the flaws is  CVE-2022-3270  (CVSS score: 9.8), a critical vulnerability that affects Festo automation controllers using the Festo Generic Multicast (FGMC) protocol to reboot the devices without requiring any authentication and cause a denial of service (DoS) condition. Another DoS shortcoming i

Your OT Is No Longer Isolated: Act Fast to Protect It

Your OT Is No Longer Isolated: Act Fast to Protect It
Nov 04, 2022
Not too long ago, there was a clear separation between the operational technology (OT) that drives the physical functions of a company – on the factory floor, for example – and the information technology (IT) that manages a company's data to enable management and planning.  As IT assets became increasingly connected to the outside world via the internet, OT remained isolated from IT – and the rest of the world. However, the spread of Industrial IoT (IIoT) as well as the need for constant monitoring and tracking information from manufacturing and assembly lines mean the connection between IT and OT systems has greatly expanded. OT is no longer isolated. OT is now just as exposed to the outside world as IT is. What does this mean for OT security, where hard-to-access devices needed for 24/7 production are difficult to patch? Let's take a look. The Air Gap Is Gone Not so long ago, any data exchange between IT and OT operated via a "sneaker net." An operator would p
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