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Cybersecurity attacks on IIoT infrastructure expected to increase in 2017

A survey by security company Tripwire found that 96% of IT security professionals expected attacks on critical Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) infrastructure segments such as energy, utilities, government, healthcare, and finance.

Rene Millman, Vinelake
04/16/2017

Most organizations are expecting an increase in cyber attacks on Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) infrastructure this year, according to a survey commissioned by informant technology (IT) security company Tripwire. The survey found that 96% of IT security professionals expected attacks on critical Industrial IoT infrastructure segments such as energy, utilities, government, healthcare and finance. 

The study of 403 IT security professionals worldwide, revealed that an overwhelming majority of feel additional precautions are needed to adequately secure the IIoT, and more than half (51%) do not feel prepared for such attacks. Sixty-four percent said they already recognize the need to protect against IIoT attacks, as they continue to gain popularity among hackers.

The study's respondents were also asked how they expect their organizations' deployment of IIoT devices to change, and how it will affect their level of vulnerability. The survey found that: 90% expect IIoT deployment to increase; 94% expect IIoT to increase risk and vulnerability in their organizations; and when respondents were broken down by company size, both larger companies (96% and smaller companies (93%) expect a significant increase in risk caused by using IIoT.

David Meltzer, chief technology officer at Tripwire, said that industry professionals know that the IIoT security is a problem today as more than half of the respondents said they don't feel prepared to detect and stop cyber-attacks against IIoT.

"There are only two ways this scenario plays out: Either we change our level of preparation or we experience the realization of these risks. The reality is that cyber-attacks in the industrial space can have significant consequences in terms of safety and the availability of critical operations," he added.

Robert Westervelt, security research manager at IDC, said that as industrial companies pursue IIoT, it's important to understand the new threats that can impact critical operations.

"Greater connectivity with operational technology (OT) exposes operational teams to the types of attacks that IT teams are used to seeing, but with even higher stakes," he said. "The concern for a cyber-attack is no longer focused on loss of data, but safety and availability. Consider an energy utility as an example—cyber-attacks could disrupt power supply for communities and potentially have impact on life and safety." 

Rene Millman is editor at Internet of Business. This article originally  appeared hereInternet of Business is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, CFE Media, cvavra(at)cfemedia.com.

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