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Cybersecurity Trends: What is Siegeware?

7 March 2019 by Charlotte Greene

Senior cybersecurity researcher Stephen Cobb recently published an article on siegeware, a rising threat to organisations around the world.

The article asks what you would do if you received a text that read: “We have hacked all the control systems in your building at 400 Main Street and will close it down for three days if you do not pay $50,000 in Bitcoin within 24 hours.”

Although this example is clearly targeted at American readers, the article poses a very real scenario. Cybercriminals are increasingly using their online capabilities to wreak havoc in physical workplaces and organisations around the globe.

What exactly is siegeware?

Siegeware is the exploitation of smart buildings’ technology. Criminals hold the operational systems of your building or complex to ransom until they are paid, most likely requesting an untraceable Bitcoin payment.

What would it mean for your business?

For smart businesses and an increasing number of modern buildings, siegeware presents a serious concern.  There are many systems that can be automated which form the backbone of operations.

These include:

  • SecurityFire detection and alarm systems
  • Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Security and access controls
  • Power management and assurance systems
  • Command and control systems
  • Lighting control systems

If an attacker threatens even one of these crucial systems in your building, you have very little choice when it comes to paying the ransom. If the attacker has control of a chain of buildings owned or occupied by your business, you can see how this quickly becomes a big problem.

How can you protect your business?

We’re becoming more and more adept at using tech in every aspect of life. Even if you don’t consider yourself a particularly techie business, chances are you have a remotely controlled thermostat, or similar technology. And this isn’t a bad thing. This smart tech helps businesses to be more energy efficient, safer and more productive.

Because of its advantages, this type of tech is only going to become more common in the future. It’s crucial that you’re aware of emerging threats in this field to protect your business now and in the future.

The easiest way for attackers to infiltrate your internal systems is through insecure devices and Wi-Fi routers connected to the same network as these automated control systems. Ensure that the network within which your operational technologies sit is completely different to the network that employees or the public can connect to.

Make sure that insecure network access points aren’t putting you at risk. Check all the technology you use is inherently secure and is thoroughly checked for vulnerabilities by cybersecurity professionals.

PROsecure is our comprehensive bundle of cybersecurity protection. Defend your business from DDoS flood attacks and layer 7 attacks, and detect and respond to threats in real time.

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