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Cybersecurity : Increasingly Critical essential infrastructures 

As part of the Rencontres de Génie, Genium 360 presented its third and last webinar on cybersecurity of operational technologies (OT). Xavier Troendle, from Tenable, a company specializing in the development of cybersecurity software for twenty years, drew up an inventory, presented a few use cases, then established the pillars to be put in place for a more effective cyber protection.

Business risk

For Mr. Troendle , it is obvious that the cybersecurity of operationnal technologies presents a business risk. Attacks can cause loss of private information or interruption of service, that implies financial losses, a judgment of productivity or even an injury to life human. The target industries, to name a few, are in the areas of energy, water treatment, the chemistry of the pharmaceutique,  are mines of are manufactures of art cities intelligent, airport, transport, etc.

The following elements make OTs particularly fragile :

– Increasingly strong OT / TI convergence

– No visibility in the OT network

– Obsolete equipment

– Inventories of invisible assets

– Undocumented protocols

– No configuration monitoring

Use cases and impacts

Creating opportunities through digitization inevitably leads to increased risk. For ten years, there has been at least one serious cyber attack on critical infrastructure each year, such as Stuxnet in 2010 or Wannacry in 2017.

Attacks against Industrial environnements may take the form of stops or starts unauthorized ed a Contro corrupt or damage to data. More recently, in March 2019, Hydro Aluminum manufacturer, which employs 35,000 people in 40 countries, was a major stop is produced as a result of a cyber attack. With employees no longer having access to control data, we are talking about losses of $ 40 million per week.

Important pillars

Cybercriminals seek to exploit vulnerabilities in systems. Although the vast majority of breaches pose little risk , the number of attacks is steadily increasing. Moreover, Mr. Troendle notes that 70% of TO managers do not feel equipped to manage a cyber attack. “The most important thing is to prioritize the good things ; if I have 10, 15 or 20 vulnerabilities, which ones do I start with ? ”

One major point is to consider the full life cycle of risks on OT environments. “ The faster and more precise we are in completing this life cycle, the more we improve our resilience, ” he says. Among the key steps, it is important to discover and map assets and vulnerabilities. Then we seek to better understand and then prioritizes solving problems that could be exploited. Finally, major flaws are remedied, and key indicators are used to measure gaps and areas for improvement.

Golden Rule

In conclusion, Xavier Troendle stressed that one of the golden rules of cyber security is the collaboration and information sharing.

Read about the previous webinars:  

Cybersecurity in the 4.0 era : operational technologies at the forefront

Cybersecurity in Canada : context and resources