Industrial and critical infrastructure operators encounter unique challenges when it comes to securing their industrial control systems (ICS).

The Difficulty of ICS Security

Securing conventional ICS devices presents a considerable challenge, as protecting them without disrupting essential industrial processes is crucial. Furthermore, emerging technologies, such as 5G cellular networks, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced data analytics, introduce advantages and uncertainties that significantly impact the risk landscape of ICS security.

Risks Associated with 5G, AI, and Emerging Technologies

The widespread adoption of cutting-edge technologies like 5G, AI, and advanced data analytics necessitates carefully evaluating potential risks. While these technologies offer numerous benefits, they also bring about new security concerns that need to be addressed to safeguard legacy ICS devices effectively.

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The Decline of Air Gapping as a Viable Solution

In the past, traditional ICS networks were kept completely isolated, or air-gapped, from the rest of the enterprise network. This approach provided high protection against external attacks, with most cybersecurity risks stemming from human error, accidents, natural disasters, or physical sabotage.

However, the landscape has changed with the advent of digital transformation and process automation. Today, there is a growing need for closer integration between traditional ICS devices and networks, business applications, and external entities such as supply chain partners, customers, and even regulatory bodies. As a result, the once reliable strategy of air gapping is no longer a viable and effective tactic to ensure security.

Securing Legacy ICS in Manufacturing

Legacy devices were made with reliability rather than security in mind.

Conventional ICS devices often have lifespans spanning several decades. These devices were purpose-built and operated as standalone systems, prioritizing dependability over security. In order to enhance cost-efficiency, these devices often run stripped-down operating systems that lack advanced security features and complex functions. Consequently, threat actors frequently exploit these ICS devices as highly vulnerable assets to access other interconnected components of the enterprise network.

Zero trust and network segmentation have taken their time to reach the ICS.

Network administrators responsible for ICS systems have shown reluctance in adopting conventional IT security measures like zero trust. Their concerns primarily revolve around the potential complexities and administrative overhead that implementing such measures could impose on managing physical operations and the broader infrastructure. However, the escalating frequency and sophistication of cyber threats targeting ICS networks necessitate a shift. This is driven by the convergence of physical and ICS cybersecurity processes, as well as the growing integration of ICS with corporate networks and internet-based applications.

Legacy ICS

IT and OT Convergence Exposes Security Holes

The increasing convergence of operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), which oversees physical and operational processes, presents opportunities for exploitation. This convergence raises concerns about potential catastrophic outcomes, including loss of life, financial ramifications, and disruption to critical infrastructure that society relies on daily. Consequently, malicious threat actors are drawn to ICS infrastructure, recognizing its attractiveness as a target for causing harm.

ICS Security: A Multi-Pronged Approach To Improving It

A comprehensive platform is necessary to enhance the security of your industrial control systems (ICS) and safeguard them against a wide range of cyberattacks. This platform should encompass threat detection, risk management, and mitigation capabilities.

The key to enhancing ICS security lies in selecting a system that offers the following:

  • Granular Insight: The system should provide detailed visibility into specific industrial processes and IoT devices. This level of specificity is essential for identifying unusual activity patterns that may indicate a potential threat or breach.
  • Rapid Vulnerability Discovery: It should facilitate the swift detection of vulnerabilities in individual IoT endpoints while correlating asset visibility with known vulnerability databases. This capability enables the prioritization of remedial efforts and simplifies the management of security vulnerabilities.
  • AI/ML-powered Capabilities: The system should leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) for asset management and threat detection. By prioritizing issues based on heavy traffic patterns, it can effectively address concerns at the network’s edge and within the IT network, including data centers and cloud facilities.
Legacy ICS

The Best ICS Security Solution to Choose

When selecting a security tool to manage your ICS assets, vulnerabilities, threats, and remediation operations, consider the following factors:

A security and visibility platform created with big ICS industrial situations in mind.

A robust security and visibility platform is essential When securing extensive industrial ICS environments encompassing tens of thousands of industrial control devices across multiple sites and remote locations.

To effectively protect such large-scale ICS settings, it is crucial to utilize an ICS security solution with a flexible, multi-tiered architecture. This ensures scalability as the number of devices increases, allowing seamless expansion without compromising performance or security.

A security system that offers thorough visibility into ICS devices and business procedures.

When selecting a security system for your industrial control systems (ICS), choosing a solution that provides cybersecurity and analytics for all connected assets, including OT, IoT, and IT, is vital.

You can effectively prioritize issues by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)-based asset management and threat detection capabilities, which allow you to identify problems based on heavy traffic patterns. Whether these issues arise at the network edge, where “things” are located, or within the data center and cloud network, this approach enables proactive problem resolution and ensures the security of your systems.

Closing ICS Security Gaps with Rhyno’s Managed Detection and Response

  • ICS Asset Discovery: Identify all communicating assets on your networks.
    Incorporate extensive asset information, including name, IP and MAC address, type, serial number, firmware version and components.
  • Detection of ICS Threats and Anomalies: Identify threats to process dependability and ICS cybersecurity.
    Integrate thorough threat and risk monitoring using anomaly detection based on behaviour and threat identification based on signatures.
  • Adaptive Polling: deeper, more advanced asset tracking to find vulnerabilities in IoT devices.
    A potent combination of active and passive asset identification is needed for improved asset tracking, vulnerability analysis, and security monitoring. Its solutions cover a variety of OT devices in addition to standard IoT protocols.

The Devastating Effects of an ICS Security Breach

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) penalized Duke Energy Corp. $10 million for cybersecurity infractions between 2015 and 2018. The 127 safety rules infractions included failing to protect private data on its most important digital assets and enabling unauthorized access to private networks and physical places. It was determined that the failures posed “a serious risk to the security and reliability” of the power system. The majority were self-reported and blamed on a lack of managerial control.

The cryptovirus Norsk Hydro’s systems were shut down by LockerGoga, which necessitated the use of manual processes and workarounds. Extruded Solutions, a company that produces parts for the construction, automotive, and other industries, cut its output by 50%. There were reporting, billing, and invoicing delays, among other administrative processes. Norsk Hydro needed several weeks to get everything back to normal. It was projected that poor production volumes and lost margins may cost as much as $70 million

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Rhyno delivers a range of activities that combine to fully protect your infrastructure and data from cybercriminals, anywhere and everywhere, 24/7/365.


About Rhyno Cybersecurity Services

Rhyno Cybersecurity is a Canadian-based company focusing on 24/7 Managed Detection and Response, Penetration Testing, Enterprise Cloud, and Cybersecurity Solutions for small and midsize businesses.

Our products and services are robust, innovative, and cost-effective. Underpinned by our 24x7x365 Security Operations Centre (SOC), our experts ensure you have access to cybersecurity expertise when you need it the most.

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