The start of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a 56% increase in cybersecurity threats as acknowledged by both IT and OT security professionals at industrial enterprises. Also, 70% have seen cyber criminals using new tactics to target their organisations in this timeframe.
Responses from IT and OT security professionals in Singapore reveal:
- 31% said that employees and third-party vendors have been working less effectively during the pandemic
- Cybercriminals are using new tactics to attack OT environments according to 71% of respondents, with hacking and credential theft, ransomware, and web application threats being the most prevalent
- 54% say their leadership’s top cyber security priority was implementing new technology solutions since the onset of the pandemic
- 72% reported that their jobs have become more challenging
COVID-19 has clearly had an impact on IT/OT convergence, as two-thirds (67%) say that their IT and OT networks have become more interconnected since the pandemic began and more than 75% expect they will become even more interconnected as a result of it.
While IT/OT convergence unlocks business value in terms of operations efficiency, performance, and quality of services, it can also be detrimental because threats – both targeted and non-targeted – can move freely between IT and OT environments.
Cannot ignore OT security
“While we would be short-sighted to think that we won’t have more challenges as we continue to face unknowns from this pandemic, protecting critical infrastructure is especially important in a time of crisis,” said Yaniv Vardi, CEO of Claroty.
He noted that as large enterprises try to improve their productivity by connecting more OT and IoT devices, and remotely access their industrial networks, they are also increasing their exposure as a result.
“OT security needs to be brought to the fore and made a priority for all organisations. Attackers know that IT networks are covered with cybersecurity solutions so they are moving to exploit vulnerabilities in OT to gain access to enterprise networks. Not protecting OT is like protecting a house with state-of-the-art security and alarm systems, but then leaving the front door open,” he explained.