How to protect Industrial IoT from ransomware

Article by Claroty APJ regional business VP Eddie Stefanescu

Ransomware attacks in operational technology (OT) environments are becoming increasingly common as they demonstrate the impact they can have on production processes - shutting down production lines, industrial processes and resulting in revenue loss.

In its 2019 Security Report, Telstra said its research showed ransomware to be a growing problem in the OT domain: building automation systems, industrial control systems powering vehicles, industrial processes, production lines and public systems such as water and power.

Among the most damaging ransomware attacks to OT environments were WannaCry and NotPetya outbreaks of 2017 which hit production networks worldwide resulting in shutdowns, massive clean-up efforts and millions of dollars in damages.

The NotPetya ransomware that wreaked havoc in 2017 cost global shipping line Maersk $300million.

The company said it reinstalled 4,000 servers and 45,000 PCs in just 10 days. Collectively, FedEx, Maersk, Merck, Mondelez, Reckitt Benckiser, and Saint-Gobain experienced financial losses totalling nearly $900million as a result of NotPetya attacks.

Similarly, when WannaCry infected iPhone chip manufacturer TSMC in 2018, the company’s operational downtime led to estimated damages of $250 million.

IT an avenue for attacks on OT

Most of the targets of these attacks have been IT networks and the data they carry, but many people don’t realise the extensive “spillover” damage to industrial e....

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