Six ways to protect an industrial network from malware

Malware can go undetected for months and even years inside an industrial network. Companies can protect themselves by educating their workers and ensuring their firewalls are configured properly.

By ISSSource November 19, 2017

Companies constantly have to be aware of malware lurking in their industrial network, lurking and learning about is happening on a daily basis before it initiates an attack. Malware attacks can go undetected for months and even years.

"There’s a concerning trend in these supply chain attacks," said Craig Williams, the head of Cisco’s Talos team. "Attackers are realizing that if they find these soft targets, companies without a lot of security practices, they can hijack that customer base and use it as their own malware install base…And the more we see it, the more attackers will be attracted to it."

The longer your network is exposed, the higher the chance of falling victim to a malware attack. Companies can protect their network following these six steps:

  1. Network education. The first priority for companies is to know what’s on your network in real-time, at all times from end-to-end.
  2. Create a maintenance program. Fix broken and misconfigured devices and damaged cables. Set up a regular repair and maintenance program.
  3. Restrict user-owned devices like routers and Wi-Fi links. Companies need to have specific procedures and strict policies in place to manage it. This will make it easier to find the crack in the system and prevent further damage.
  4. Make sure firewalls are properly configured. Place firewalls between segments of your network, and make sure they are all configured properly. Be vigilant with the application of new technology as firewall hardware is becoming more intelligent. We also suggest whitelisting on email firewalls to eliminate spam and phishing schemes.
  5. Consider edge-device firewalls. Edge-device firewalls are important when the company has a significant numbers of user input devices such as human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).
  6. Engage in regular social engineering. All of what has gone before is well and good, but if you don’t engage in training your users, they will begin to slide.

This content originally appeared on ISSSource is a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, CFE Media,

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