The security of industrial control systems (ICS) and industry IoT solutions seems to be in the headlines lately, mostly due to high-profile attacks against critical infrastructure which can have caused loss of critical services (electricity, ATC,…), environmental damage, and even loss of life. These digital systems interact with the physical world, making their risks felt even outside the digital world.
ICS systems have traditionally relied on isolation and obscurity to mitigate the risk of digital attacks. With increasing connectivity between classic IT and operational technology (OT) worlds, isolation gradually disappears, and due to standardization and vulnerability research, obscurity is no longer a viable defense.
This leaves OT/ICS systems increasingly open to risk, and exposes critical services to internal and external actors. With complexity and dynamicity rising, things seem to be only getting worse for the defenders.
The traditional answer to risk management – using historically successful IT preventive controls, such as hardening, patching, SDLC, active vulnerability assessment, tight access control – cannot succeed quickly in the OT/ICS world, where processes and people are used to operating mission-critical systems with only safety in mind, where change management runs at a different pace, and where trust between components is the norm. To secure these complex systems today, a different approach is needed.
To address the problem today, Conscia proposes a detective approach, where we observe OT/ICS systems in real-time, and quickly respond to any suspicious or anomalous behavior seen. This provides the following benefits:
- Fast (minutes to hours) detection of intruders and malicious code, enabling extremely quick response processes to limit damage and business loss. In comparison, in the 2015 Ukraine power distribution attacks, the attackers spent 6 months examining the target ICS.
- No change and no interference with existing OT applications and processes, to ensure uninterrupted operations using today’s technology.
Our solution is based on OT network data capture and anomaly-based analysis and detection using completely passive network sensors at the customer site. By creating baselines of known good system behavior, we are able to detect suspicious or malicious deviations, as well as known, specific attacks against the system.
Our solution can be operated by the end customer, or managed by the Conscia Security Operations Center (SOC) service, where analysts trained in ICS/OT risks and vulnerabilities react to alerts, helped by extensive automation.
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