Operational Technology in the sights of the hackers
Operational Technology (OT) is the main target for cyberattacks on industrial plants. These are devices and systems that control or monitor industrial processes - such as motors, pumps or valves. "OT systems differ in function and technology from classic corporate IT. At the same time, successful cyberattacks on OT systems often cause particularly high levels of damage to the companies affected", explains Petr Láhner, Executive Vice President of the Business Stream Industrial Service & Cybersecurity at TÜV Rheinland. "We have therefore placed the Cybersecurity of Operational Technology at the center of our study, following on from the findings of the first study on this subject in 2019".
Measures for IT and OT systems not coordinated
For the "2020 Study on the State of Industrial Security", the independent market research company Ponemon Institute surveyed more than 2,200 cybersecurity experts worldwide from the automotive, health and pharmaceutical, logistics and transport, mechanical engineering, oil and gas and utility sectors. The Ponemon Institute, based in Traverse City, Michigan, is dedicated to independent research on information and privacy management in companies.
The following results show how much cyberattacks endanger OT systems:
- More than half of the respondents (57 percent) say that their companies firmly expect attacks on OT systems.
- Almost half (48 percent) are convinced that cyber threats pose a greater risk to OT systems than to the IT environment.
- Almost two thirds (63 percent) of those surveyed stated that security measures for IT and OT systems are not coordinated in their companies.
- For almost half of the respondents (47 percent), cyber threats to OT systems have increased over the past year. These include attacks such as phishing, social engineering and extortion software ("ransomware").
The "Study 2020 on the State of Industrial Security" is available for free download at https://go.tuv.com/otsurvey-2020.