Cyber Security for Industrial Control: The Need of The Hour!

Earlier this year, we saw the Trump government officials confirming their aggressive deployment of cyber tools in digitally invading Russia’s electric power grid. This step is being advocated as long overdue after US authorities have time and again warned Russians against the malware they’ve inserted to possibly sabotage the American oil and gas pipelines, power plants, or water supplies, lest any conflict should arise between the two countries.

More recently, it was India's Kudankulam nuclear plant which had to face a malware attack, originating in North Korea, that had its code and systems come under grave threat. It’s been no more than three years since the plant started its operations, and it has already been exposed to a well-carried out, sophisticated cyber attack. What’s more worrying is that experts have been saying, this is not over; instead, this seems to be a small part of a much larger operation.

And then there were two American researchers from the University of Tulsa who, in 2017, infiltrated a wind farm. The proof-of-concept malware that they developed, brought a single turbine in a wind farm to rest; they claim, they could have as easily let it spread from turbine to turbine, paralyzing or damaging them all. Before a hacker trying to render an entire wind farm useless, it seems, there stood nothing but a simple tumbler lock!

How Should The Major Industries of the World Go On and Protect Themselves?

Oil, gas, windmills, power plants, nuclear plants, manufacturing systems - are all vulnerable to hacking in today’s age. That means the first priority for these industries has to be bulking up their defence systems against cyberattacks. It is imperative that they deploy state-of-the-art rugged network solutions as one of their first steps forward.

One of the major steps in securing a system is to detect anomalies in the data; this can be done through security analytics - one of the most significant tools out there. Such as, we need more and more digital enterprises to enable offshore operators in the oil and gas industry to collect as well as interpret operational data in real-time. But, without security analytics in place, their ability to determine whether the data has been compromised or not is largely reduced.

Even with all the right security measures in place, a well-rounded solution still remains far from complete for an enterprise. What we need, in addition, is a string of highly researched and developed comprehensive strategies to manage the day-to-day hacking risks. Today, the major industries of the world need a cybersecurity plan that perfectly aligns itself with their digital strategy.

And, Lastly…

We do need every organization to be focused on protecting their own assets and operations; in addition, though, enterprises everywhere should also put more emphasis on working together to protect the industry they belong to. In the many steps we are taking towards making all industries cyber-secure, information sharing happens to be the most important one.