The Importance of Cybersecurity in Scientific Industry, Research and Development




Key Takeaways:

  • States recognise the strategic importance of cyber power and its potential to disrupt the political balance of power.
  • Research and Development (R&D) facilities often lack strong cybersecurity, posing a concern due to the sensitive nature of the data they hold, particularly in dual-use research projects.
  • State-backed groups are the primary actors stealing sensitive data, while hacktivists and cybercriminals also target these facilities with differing motivations and tactics.
  • High-profile state-backed groups from China, North Korea, and Iran, such as APT1, APT41, Lazarus Group, and Charming Kitten, target sectors related to R&D and Critical National Infrastructure (CNI).
  • Ransomware groups, including LockBit, ALPHV, and Conti, pose a significant threat to manufacturing sector entities, often using a double extortion model to compel compliance.
  • Threat actors frequently target ICS/SCADA systems due to the potential for significant disruption to research facilities and CNI processes.
  • Common tactics in these cyber campaigns include exploiting vulnerabilities in public-facing applications, social engineering, and the actions of malicious insiders.
  • Abusing sensitive information could have a tangible impact on national security and civilian lives, emphasising the need for continued vigilance and monitoring of evolving threats in the research and industry sectors.

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