Technology has brought about a lot of development over the years. In particular, the cyber-world is one of the greatest technological innovations to date. The internet has created countless opportunities for people worldwide to connect with each other and share information. It has also made it possible for businesses to reach a global market.
As such, the cybersecurity landscape is constantly evolving, and businesses of all sizes need to be prepared for the various threats that can affect their industry. Here are eight cyberattacks that could have a significant impact on your business.
OT Security Definition
Technological advancements have led to the rise in cyber attacks. These attacks target systems or information of organizations and individuals. This is why OT security is important to every industry.
OT security is the application of different technologies to protect certain systems from attacks. These systems may include sensitive infrastructures such as power stations, transportation networks, etc.
Such attacks can have adverse effects on industries. They can ruin the reputation of your industry and even lead to its collapse. That is why having some cyber security plan is essential.
A cyber security guide is the best person to help you come up with the perfect plan to secure your cyberspace. The knowledge of vulnerability management can also come in handy. This will help you take the proper measures to protect yourself.
IT vs. OT
There’s a lot of confusion about what IT and OT cyber security are. It is important to understand both before going further.
Operational technology cyber security has to do with production-level equipment. These are equipment that industries use to manage and protect physical infrastructures. Therefore, OT security focuses on physical industrial processes and devices. Examples of such structures are oil refineries, telecommunication towers, etc.
IT cyber security is the protection of systems and networks. This is to avoid information disclosure, data theft, and service disruptions. The systems involved are usually not physical. Instead, they are more of software than hardware.
Types of Cyber Attacks That Can Affect Your Industry
Different types of cyber attacks happen daily. Knowing them makes it easy to enforce data security. You will also know how to protect your industry against them. Some of these cyber-attacks include:
This is a social engineering cyber attack. The attacker usually impersonates another person and sends fake emails to people. Usually, the attacker sends these emails to people who know the person they are impersonating.
A phishing attack is usually in the form of a link. The attacker sends emails to the victims who open the mail and click on the link. By clicking on the link, the victim gives the attacker access to the device. When the attacker enters the device, he can get confidential account information. In other cases, the attacker can also install the malware in the system.
Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)
APT is quite common within operational technology settings. This is an attack where hackers gain access to a system undetected. The attacker can spend time gaining sensitive inside data and understanding the systems. Then, the attacker can use the information to disrupt a process or damage infrastructure.
This type of cyber attack involves the attacker cracking your passwords. The attacker uses different programs and cracking tools to do this. Also, there are different types of password attacks. Some of them include brute force, keylogger, and dictionary attacks.
A malware attack involves installing a dangerous software virus into the victim’s system. Such viruses include spyware, ransomware, trojans, etc. A virus such as spyware can give the attacker access to your files. It allows the attacker to steal your confidential data without you noticing.
The attacker usually disguises the virus as good software and installs it on the system. For example, adware is software that displays advertising content on a user’s screen. When you open such ads, it breaches your system.
A MITM attack is also known as an eavesdropping attack. In this attack, an attacker eavesdrops on a communication. It means the attacker finds a way into a session between two people.
This will allow the attacker to get inside information about their conversation. In most cases, such sessions are confidential because they share sensitive information. The attacker can use such information in ways that will affect your industry.
This type of cyber attack usually targets industries or companies. First, the attacker breaches company systems or servers by flooding them with traffic. Then, the traffic will overwhelm their resources and bandwidth. That will result in an inability to process all incoming requests.
The company might have to shut down its service. It will make such a company lose customers in the process.
An insider threat does not involve a third-party attacker but an insider. This means an individual from within the industry is the attacker. The person may know everything about the industry.
This attacker can sellout industry information to outsiders. The attacker can also use the company’s data to cause problems.
While most insider attackers do this because of greed or malice, sometimes, it is unintentional and a result of carelessness.
Cryptojacking attack is like stealing cryptocurrency. In this situation, the attacker accesses the victim’s crypto account. The attacker mines the victim’s cryptocurrency.
Unfortunately, victims may not know that crypto-jacking is happening on their system. This is because the code works in the background.
Cyber attackers usually target system vulnerabilities. When a database has issues, the host notifies the users of this vulnerability. When such information reaches cyber attackers, they take advantage of it. They can use different methods to breach the network because it is not as strong as before.
Structured Query Language Attack
An SQL attack usually occurs on a database-driven website. The attacker manipulates a standard SQL query by introducing destructive code. The attacker injects this code into a website search box to gain information. This means when the victim types in a search, the information results are visible to the attacker.
The attacker does not only get information but gains administrative rights. This is because he can now edit and delete information in the databases.
How to Prevent Cyber Attacks
There are several ways to avoid cyber attacks in your industry. Some of them are special for a particular type of attack. The following are general tips that can keep your industry safe:
Using one password for a long time is risky. After close observation, an attacker can find out what the password is. Also, avoid using the same password for different systems. Your other information is at risk if the attacker figures out the password.
Use Strong Password Combinations
It is advisable to use alphanumeric passwords. Avoid using predictable combinations such as birth dates, anniversary, initials, etc. Some attackers are insiders and may know such dates. This will make it easy for them to breach your system or sell out the passwords to others.
Update Your Computer Security
Always ensure that you check your antiviruses and firewalls are up-to-date. When cyber security tools are out-of-date, they may not function as they should. Instead, install recent and upgraded versions of access control software. This will help to filter the software that gets into your system.
Getting help from OT security vendors when updating your system is advisable. They will help you make the best choice for your system.
Update Your Software
Using newer versions of your operating system and applications is advisable. This helps to prevent cyber attacks because application upgrades come with stronger resistance. Also, download software and applications from sources that are reliable.
Verify Emails and Links
Avoid opening emails and clicking links from unknown sources. Always remember to check who the sender is before clicking any links. If the email seems suspicious, you shouldn’t open it. You can go ahead to delete the mail if there is no confirmation from the sender.
Update Your OT Security
When OT cyber security tools are out-of-date, they may not function as they should. Defender industries can help you protect systems and infrastructures from attacks. Getting help from OT security vendors when updating your system is advisable. They will help you make the best choice for your system.
Implement Detection Standards
Ensure you have good configurations for each endpoint in your industry and monitor them continually. If you detect any kind of change in an endpoint, ensure you act quickly to find out what it is.
It is advisable to have more than one copy of your data. Doing that will help to keep it safe in case of cyber theft. In addition, you should save the data on at least two media types and in cloud storage.
Backups will prevent permanent loss of data. For example, if there is a cyber-attack, you can clear the system and restore the data when it is safe.
You know cyber attackers can be insiders, so you should be more careful. Be observant and notice the attitudes of your staff or people close to you. If you do not trust their actions, then take immediate safety measures.
In your industry, do not disclose top-tier information to all staff. Instead, ensure that only those who can access the most critical systems are those you trust.
Centralize Account Management
Centralizing your system processes’ monitoring, authentication, and account management is advisable. This will help to protect and validate user accounts. This way, attackers cannot get access to the systems.
Use Safe Network Servers
WiFi networks are an easy way for cyber attackers to gain access to your system. Therefore, it is advisable to use a VPN. A VPN encrypts the traffic between the network server and your device. This way, you protect the information you are searching for, uploading, or downloading.
Use Multi-Factor Authentication
Most security frameworks use two-factor authentication. This makes users authenticate themselves at least twice before the verify access. A two-factor authentication method includes using your username and password. If it needs more than two verification steps, that is multi-factor authentication.
Multi-factor authentication is a vital method to secure your systems. If an attacker can guess your password, their answer to the security question may be wrong.
The systems and databases of your industry are delicate. This is because they contain essential information that your industry stands upon.
OT attacks tend to focus on industrial control systems so criminals can have a physical impact on the industry and people as well. This means wrong access to the company’s system can cause many problems. Therefore, investing in OT security devices and services is essential to secure your data.