Efficient Plant July/August 2020 - 4

column | editorial

Do These
Predictions
Match Your
Reality?
Gary L. Parr
Editorial Director

Compare these cybersecurity
predictions with the current
situation in your enterprise.

4

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM	

EP2007editorial.indd 4

A

NNUAL PREDICTIONS are
an interesting thing in December.
By January 31, they're usually
a forgotten memory. I tripped over a set
of 2020 predictions the other day from Tenable, a Columbia, MD, cybersecurity consulting firm (tenable.com). The list is titled
"7 Industrial Cybersecurity Predictions for
2020," by Barak Perelman, Vice President of
OT Security. Read the whole list at tenable.
com/blog/7-industrial-cybersecuritypredictions-for-2020.
Now that we've passed the mid-point of
the year, I thought Efficient Plant readers
might find it interesting to review shortened versions of four of these predictions
to see how close they are to your reality:
Technology convergence will open up
new attack vectors. The convergence of IT,
OT, and the adoption of IoT will accelerate
at an unprecedented pace in 2020. The
boundaries between them will continue to
dissolve. This new reality will create new
attack surfaces and attack vectors your
team should monitor and defend.
Recommendation: Whether or not you
air gap your industrial control systems,
OT-based attacks are a real and present
danger. The mantra of "set it and forget it"
is not an adequate way to administer OT
environments.
OT-to-IT attacks will be reality. While
lateral attacks that gain a foothold in IT
and spread to OT networks have been
well documented in the past 24 months,
in 2020 we will see the emergence of OTto-IT attacks. Attackers will target OT
environments because, traditionally, they
are not as well defended as IT systems.
Recommendation: Create an ecosystem
of trust and cooperation between IT and
OT security and promote information
sharing to detect these attacks. Also, leverage device integrity to identify problems

at the device level and stop attacks before
they spread across the network.
Attacks will expose weak links in OT
security. In their search for the path of
least resistance, attackers will target OT
infrastructures such as branches or remote
locations for large organizations. Typically, these remote/smaller sites connect
to a larger OT network and, in the case of
energy providers, to regional grids. They
also tend to have the lowest defenses and
are most vulnerable to attack.
Recommendation: To avoid disruption
of mission-critical operations and lateral
IT data-gathering invasions, pay equal
attention to the monitoring and protection
of OT infrastructure at branch and remote
locations as you do to your primary sites.
The definition of critical infrastructure will broaden. The traditional
perception of critical infrastructure will
dramatically expand in 2020, beyond
energy grids, to include more nontraditional targets.
Recommendation: Infrastructures
labeled as non-critical, too small, or too
isolated-previously not considered
targets-will now require protection and
monitoring. OT security should be considered anywhere you deploy a programmable logic controller (PLC), distributed control system (DCS), or intelligent electronic
device (IED), regardless of size, location,
or connectivity to the outside world.
Perelman offers three more predictions, but these four seem most pertinent,
with the fourth item-definition of critical
infrastructure expanding-speaking loudest in terms of needed immediate reaction.
In your next IT/OT-related meeting, consider putting Perleman's list on the agenda
and taking a few minutes to compare his
thoughts with your systems. EP
gparr@efficientplantmag.com

JUL/AUG 2020

7/16/20 11:30 AM


http://www.tenable.com http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Efficient Plant July/August 2020

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