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Half of the industrial control systems have been affected by a cyber attack. These are factories, energy companies, chemical factories and other industrial companies. In addition, it seems that the number of cyber attacks is increasing and that hacker groups of all types and sizes are carrying out attacks.

By focusing on industrial systems, hackers can potentially cause major damage. Through backdoors, they can, for example, capture sensitive data, shut down networks using ransomware attacks, or even reach dangerous situations where entire networks are in danger of being shut down and physical damage is caused.

Outdated software

Many control systems run on old or poorly maintained operating systems. As a result, they are vulnerable to criminals. Cyber attackers, ranging from criminal gangs and government-backed hacker groups know this and want to take advantage of it.

According to Kaspersky Lab’s Threat Landscape for Industrial Automation Systems report, one in two industrial systems has to deal with hacker attacks. Almost all of these attacks have been detected by security software. But it is clear that hackers try to access the systems through unsecured ports and systems. A quarter of the attacks consist of such attempts.

E-mails and USB media

In a number of attacks, it is even the case that there is no specific focus on industrial systems, but that hackers are more or less accidentally encountered. These systems are then set up in such a way that they are vulnerable to attacks, as a result of which they are immediately found and hacked in the event of automated attacks.

The second most common threat to industrial networks is USB media, which can be connected to systems. They are often not properly secured and can easily be hacked before they are used. The third most common threat lies in e-mails, where employees are still stealing phishing attempts.

Preventing attacks

To prevent attacks, Kaspersky recommends that networks are properly secured and operating systems are always updated. In addition, the security company recommends that staff be trained on the potential risks associated with e-mails and that good protocols are in place for the use of USB media.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.