Asia-Pacific Industrial Internet of Things Security, 2018

The Need for Cybersecurity Among Industrial Firms is Growing
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Published: 29 Mar 2019

In an industrial set-up, various equipment's and components such as controllers, servers, remote terminals, monitoring equipment, and sensors are connected to the internet. Further, computer systems, applications, moving assets to the cloud or even remote facilities being connected to the Wide Area Network (WAN) require internet usage. All these are being done to gather real time insights for enhanced decision making. However, this is increasing the attack surface. Adding several IoT devices to the network is only creating challenges for managing security as they may transmit sensitive data. Further, with the IT-OT convergence, the attack surface is expanding and subject to higher risks. IT personnel are still focusing on the security of IT network with little insight on securing the OT infrastructure. They are still focused on legacy applications that are difficult to upgrade. They also have limited opportunities for patch management due to the growing number of vulnerabilities. Further, IoT devices are under attack for various reasons such a poor installation of different codes and devices and lack of security experts in IoT security. To meet the growing challenges of attacks, various vendors are providing security solutions across the IIoT architecture and not just for IT/OT networks, to ensure security against every potential threat. Traditionally, most IoT devices were made by engineers who had limited knowledge of cyber security, and the devices often had no built-in security. However, with the growing cyber-attacks on industrial firms, cyber security firms are focusing on ‘Security by Design’ by incorporating features such as password protection, multi-factor authentication, and other stronger security capabilities. While every industrial firm has it’s own unique environment, protecting the organization from IoT related cyber threats is gaining even more significance than ever. These IoT devices and applications can leak out sensitive information that can have a major impact on the organization. As with unprotected IoT applications, the embedded programs can be analysed and stolen, an organization should only think of protecting them and ensure cyber security for their environment. As more and more industrial firms adopt IIoT, smart technology and automation, their chances of witnessing a security incident rises. Today, as these industrial firms look at optimizing business operations, reduce operating costs, increase control over distributed operations and face an increasing compliance requirement with regulations, they cannot stay away from adopting IIoT. IIoT and Industry 4.0 are driving organizations looking to improve existing processes and augment operational systems, to facilitate more connections between the physical process world and the Internet. This connectivity exposes the previously isolated operational environments to cyber threats. Author: Divya Prasad

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