High to severe control system threat levels
One in four respondents to the Control Engineering 2015 Cyber Security Study identified a high cyber security threat to their control systems, while another 8% said their systems are severely threatened. Of these respondents, the most concerning threats to these at-risk control systems are attacks as part of a larger attempt to disrupt critical infrastructure (29%), malware from a random source with no specific connection to their company or industry (22%), and attacks through an unfamiliar yet vulnerable network device (18%). Below are four more findings from this study as they relate to highly or severely threatened control systems:
- Vulnerable system components: The most vulnerable system components within respondents’ companies are computer assets (55%), connections to other internal systems (50%), network devices (49%), and wireless communication devices and protocols used in the automation system (46%).
- Vulnerability assessments: Thirty-seven percent of respondents reported that their companies have performed some type of vulnerability assessment within the past 3 months. The average facility has checked their vulnerabilities within the past 5 months.
- Cyber-related incidents: Fifty-three percent of respondents have experienced at least one malicious cyber attack on their control system networks and/or cyber assets—that they were aware of-within the past 24 months, with 24% being aware of five or more attacks. Thirty-two percent of these incidents were accidental infections, 14% were targeted in nature, and 50% were both accidental and targeted.
- Identifying cyber incidents: Seven in 10 respondents said that they were alerted about recent cyber incidents by members of their internal organization, while 24% were disclosed by a third-party assessment, and 6% were notified by the government or other outside party.