Cybersecurity of Operational Technology and Industrial Control Systems




Key Takeaways:

  • The convergence of IT and OT presents integration challenges and cybersecurity risks as emerging technologies (cloud computing, big data analytics, IIoT) introduce new vulnerabilities.
  • Threats have adversarial, accidental, structural, and environmental sources and can compromise confdentiality, integrity, or availability of victim systems.
  • Past campaigns and recent developments continue to shed light on the changing landscape of OT targeting. Stuxnet set a precedent for combining kinetic and digital warfare through cyber means. By targeting OT, adversaries can use digital means to cause a real-world impact.
  • Ongoing Russian cyber operations targeting power grids in Ukraine continue highlight persistent threats to OT in some conflict zones.
  • Nation-State activity, such as China’s aggressive cyber strategies outlined in its 2023 Cyber Strategy, underscore the urgent need for global cybersecurity measures and international collaboration.
  • The intersection of cybersecurity with geopolitical tensions and armed conflict highlights the potential for cyber operations to be used as tools of statecraft. Looking ahead, we assess it likely that we will witness an increase in nation-state-driven cyber campaigns targeting Operational Technology (OT).
  • Implementing robust cybersecurity practices, staying vigilant, and learning from past incidents are essential for securing OT environments and maintaining operational resilience.

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