Friday, April 16, 2010

Security Incidents Rise In Industrial Control Systems

From Dark Reading ...
While only about 10 percent of industrial control systems are actually connected to the Internet, these systems that run water, wastewater, and utility power plants have suffered an increase in cybersecurity incidents over the past five years.

A new report based on data gathered by the Repository of Industrial Security Incidents (RISI) database provides a rare look at trends in malware infections, hacks, and insider attacks within these traditionally cloistered operations. Cybersecurity incidents in petroleum and petrochemical control systems have declined significantly over the past five years--down more than 80 percent-- but water and wastewater have increased 300 percent, and power/utilities by 30 percent, according to the 2009 Annual Report on Cyber Security Incidents and Trends Affecting Industrial Control Systems.

As weve discussed in class the ability to attack the critical infrastructure systems that control oil & gas, water, and power is the bridge between cyber warfare and physical warfare. An successful attack on these systems would surely harm our economy and possibly impede our ability to wage war.

Read the full article here.

1 comment:

Deven said...

Ah this is so scary. I think the following paragraph from the "Security Incidents Rise in Industrial Control Systems" article really sums up the issue well. Even if experts have noticed a reduction in malware attacks or in oil and gas systems, the industry is still ignoring persistent and frequent security incidents. Attacks targeting water industries have increased by 300%. As Ned said, these industries are crucial to the United States--if not for economic viability and defensive purposes, then for the lifestyle that Americans expect to lead.

Isn't this amazing? Overall, 25 percent of the security incidents in process control systems were intentional, directed attacks, where an outside attacker or an insider breached the system, according to the report. Of the remaining 75 percent, half were malware-borne, and half where equipment breakdowns or failures of some sort. Insider attacks rose 30 percent over the last five years.

So even if only a quarter of the incidents were from outside intentional attacks, they were still OUTSIDE INTENTIONAL attacks.

What will it take for more on the part of companies and government coalitions to stamp out or reduce this possibility of devastation?