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The utilities and energy industry is seeing an increase in the number of sophisticated cyberattacks to their operations.
A study by Siemens and the Ponemon Institute surveyed 1,726 utility professionals responsible for securing or overseeing cyber risk in Operational Technology (OT) environments for companies in gas, solar, wind, and water utilities throughout the world. 25% of respondents report being impacted by mega attacks, with expertise developed by nation-state actors.
Cyber-attacks are becoming a regular occurrence for energy and utility companies. BitSight research found nearly 1 out of 10 utility companies experienced one or more malware infections within the last three months. Additionally, Siemens and Ponemon Institute found that 4% of their respondents reported 10 or more attacks within the past 12 months. Companies are seeing greater risk within their OT environments, rather than their Information Technology (IT) sector. Rather than target financial data, many companies are seeing attacks attempt to hijack their control systems and controllers that affect critical infrastructure that causes physical equipment damage and outages.
As recently as 2018 the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reported Russian government cyber activity targeting energy and other critical infrastructures. They characterized the activity as a multi-stage intrusion campaign that targeted small commercial facilities’ networks staging malware, conducting spear phishing, and gaining remote access into energy sector networks. They targeted U.S. Government entities as well as organizations in the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors. After obtaining access, the cyber actors conducted network reconnaissance, moved laterally, and collected information pertaining to Industrial Control Systems (ICS).
The Siemens and Ponemon Institute describes five reasons management of OT security a challenge: the rise of sophisticated attacks, lack of skilled personnel, isolated and fragmented systems, detection of security exploits and data breaches, and no clear ownership.
The report also found that 30% of respondents said their organization has no response plan for a cyber-attack, on average responses to malware attacks took 72 days after an outage.
Lumifi is here to help. We can help you gain insight into your systems, create robust solutions to detect breaches in minutes--not weeks, and create a resilient cybersecurity strategy to keep your business ahead of the attackers.