Trend Micro, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, recently reported the results of a six-month investigation in which it set up a ‘honeypot’, imitating a factory, to test the potential vulnerabilities of a typical industrial control system to cyberattacks. The sophisticated operational technology (OT) honeypot attracted fraud and financially motivated exploits.
The investigation revealed that unsecured industrial environments are victims primarily of common threats. The honeypot was compromised for cryptocurrency mining, targeted by two separate ransomware attacks, and used for consumer fraud.
Greg Young, Vice President of Cybersecurity for Trend Micro, said, “Too often, discussion of cyber threats to industrial control systems (ICS) has been confined to highly sophisticated, nation-state level attacks designed to sabotage key processes. While these do present a risk to Industry 4.0, our research shows that more commonplace threats are more likely. Owners of smaller factories and industrial plants should therefore not assume that criminals will leave them alone. A lack of basic protections can open the door to a relatively straightforward ransomware or crypto-jacking attack that could have serious consequences for the bottom line.”
To better understand the attacks targeting ICS environments, Trend Micro Research created a realistic, industrial prototyping company. The honeypot consisted of real ICS hardware and a mix of physical hosts and virtual machines to run the factory, which included several programmable logic controllers (PLCs), human machine interfaces (HMIs), separate robotic and engineering workstations and a file server.
“Many of Africa’s industrial businesses, from manufacturing to mining and engineering, are ramping up their use of IoT systems, although some are still grappling with upgrading their backend infrastructure,” said Indi Siriniwasa, Vice President, Sub-Saharan Africa for Trend Micro. “By using a honeypot to detect unauthorised use of these industrial systems, paired with continued diligence and using secure computing techniques, industries can increase their security posture to be able to deflect and defend against attacks on their OT environments.”
Trend Micro urges smart factory owners to minimise the number of ports they leave open and to tighten access control policies, among other cybersecurity best practices. In addition, implementing cybersecurity solutions designed for factories, like those offered by Trend Micro, can help further mitigate the risk of attack.
Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, helps to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Its innovative solutions for consumers, businesses and governments provide layered security for data centres, cloud environments, networks and endpoints. All its products work together to share threat intelligence and provide a connected threat defence with centralised visibility and control, enabling better, faster protection. With more than 6000 employees in over 50 countries and advanced global threat intelligence, Trend Micro helps secure the connected world.
For more information visit: www.trendmicro.com.