Based on recent reports of Russian involvement in a multistage intrusion of the US power grid, it’s no longer a question of “if” threat actors will gain access to critical infrastructure control systems – it’s when it will happen again, and for what purpose.
What can be done to thwart these potentially disruptive assaults?
Cyber security threats to the power grid are a continuous danger nowadays, and because of this, regulation in North America may expand from covering bulk electricity carriers to low-impact carriers. Last month FERC, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, proposed a new rule for low-impact carriers, covering transient electronic devices such as USBs and laptops, and incident response policies.
While the regulation is still in the review stage, some low-impact utilities are not waiting to improve their cyber security posture and get a head start on compliance. They are taking advantage of the latest innovation for cyber threat monitoring and detection systems. Vermont Electric Coop is one such entity, and they have realized multiple benefits from their proactive approach.
When dealing with the difficulties of securing critical infrastructure, it’s sometimes good to take a step back from day-to-day challenges and take a macro view; look at the big picture.
Fortinet’s CISO Phil Quade did just that recently. He indicates that while the news media focuses attention on high profile malware and ransomware attacks, like WannaCry, the bigger threat to critical infrastructure comes from “low and slow” attacks that are hard to detect. And, since a lot of critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, securing it takes real cooperation between industry and government.
Phil also states that we are on the verge of a security revolution that includes using automation strategies to find and respond to incremental cyber intrusions. Automation is what underpins the Fortinet / Nozomi Networks partnership. Read on to learn more about Phil’s perspective and how our combined solution secures critical infrastructure.
In the last decade market and cost pressures have driven significant technological advances in automation and industrial connectivity across all aspects of petroleum extraction, pipeline transport and refining. While technological advances are delivering business benefits, systems are now exposed to more cyber risks than ever before.
Yet, according to a 2017 survey by the Ponemon Institute, the deployment of cyber security measures in the oil and gas industry isn’t keeping pace with the growth of digitalization in operations.
One way to overcome the ICS cyber security gap is to utilize next generation technology that leverages machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to deal with system complexity and deliver immediate benefits. Let’s take a look at two examples of how a passive ICS anomaly detection and monitoring solution secures pipeline networks.
One of the findings of the recent SANS report “Securing Industrial Control Systems – 2017” is that the number one technology industrial organizations are looking to implement over the next 18 months is intrusion detection.
Up until recently, detecting anomalies on ICS networks that might be caused by a cyberattack has been ”mission impossible.” That’s because such networks typically include equipment from a wide assortment of vendors, run thousands of real-time processes and generate huge volumes of data. Analyzing and monitoring this data to detect anomalies was very difficult.
The good news is that a new generation of ICS cyber security tool is available for industrial intrusion detection. This article describes how our product, SCADAguardian does it, and gives an example of how it would detect and counter a cyberattack on a regional control center of an electric power utility.