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Industrial Control Systems a Threat to UK Cybersecurity

Industrial Control Systems a Threat to UK Cybersecurity

According to a cyber defence expert, vulnerabilities in industrial control systems are potentially the biggest threats to UK cybersecurity.  

Azeem Aleem, Director of advanced cyber defence practice for Europe, Middle East and Africa at RSA said: “Industrial control systems (ICS) in Europe and particularly the UK are based on legacy systems, which is creating opportunities for attackers as we move to a process control network environment.

“We are seeing evidence of attacks on ICS in things like Stuxnet, Shamoon, and Black Energy linked to the attacks on the Ukrainian power grid,.”

RSA researchers have said they found a sophisticated surge in the attack domains across industrial control systems.Aleem believes one of the biggest challenges is assessing the true size and nature of the problem across water utilities, oil and gas suppliers, and electrical power distribution networks.

He added: “The UK cyber security community and the government really need to focus on this issue in the face of increasingly sophisticated attacks by nation state actors.

“In the US, we have seen attempts to influence the outcome of the presidential elections, and those same actors could start manipulating industrial control systems within suppliers of critical national infrastructure as well.”

Aleem said there is a growing awareness among organisations that there is no such thing as 100% security, and as a result many are investing in understanding what their critical data assets are, how to prioritise risk, and how to define and assess risk.

He added: “Response is typically less well understood than readiness, and capabilities are often lacking, especially when it comes to proactive capabilities to achieve actionable intelligence by filtering out the noise to identify the threats that are specific to the organisation”

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