workers in control room of a factory.

In a previous article about the specific features of industrial systems, we discussed the cybersecurity challenges related to these types of networks and the constraints in ensuring their protection. Find out about some best practices you can adopt in order to fight against industrial cyberattacks and overcome the vulnerabilities of industrial systems when it comes to the IIoT. Cybersecurity is indeed a technical subject but above all it requires organization.

Cybersecurity of industrial networks: a question of management

IT and OT: complementary solutions

Different solutions exist for protecting industrial networks against cyberattacks both in terms of IT and OT. Although each area responds to different problems and has different objectives, ensuring the protection and resilience of industrial systems requires collaborative work between these two worlds.

IT cybersecurity solutions

IT solutions provide responses to various concerns. These solutions act as a ‘blockage’. When they detect problems, they ‘block’ the industrial network or ‘place it in quarantine’. In order to be effectively implemented and run, these solutions need keen technical expertise. They should be carried out by network administrators or well-trained IT technicians who have a good command of cybersecurity concerns.

  • Anti-viruses on workstations
  • Firewalls to filter information entering the network
  • Diode (optical hardware) to separate the critical OT/IT interconnections (power plants, safety systems, etc.) of the network.

OT cybersecurity solutions

OT cybersecurity solutions are tailored to the needs of the industrial world to ensure the accessibility, resilience and security of industrial systems. They provide a non-intrusive way to fight against cyberattacks and do not require keen expertise. These solutions are specifically intended to be implemented by heads of industrial systems and networks, production engineers and companies providing in-service support.

  • OT asset cyber management: inventory, mapping, vulnerabilities…
  • Systems for detecting and preventing intrusions (such as Network Anomaly Detection and Monitoring)
  • Solutions for network authentication and access control for software developers
  • Alert centers that provide response to IT attacks and employee training in cybersecurity for consulting firms

The basics

Aside from these solutions, protecting an industrial network relies on company management and organization:

Creating and diffusing internal regulations and/or an IT code of conduct that defines the security rules and the basics of good computer hygiene

Implementing an Information Security Management System (ISMS) in order to create a risk management policy for the information system

Keeping watch on cybersecurity and reading CERT alerts published in French and English (such as ICS-CERT and CERT-FR)

To stay up to date with cyberthreats and news, follow our 12 recommended influencers in cybersecurity.

ISO/IEC 27005 standard
To set up an ISMS, the heads and staff of IT departments can rely on international standard ISO/IEC 27005 on risk management in information security.

Limit the risks of industrial cyberattacks on the IIoT

With the rise of Industry 4.0 and the development of connected objects in industry (IIoT), companies are becoming increasingly more vulnerable to attacks. The IIoT is guaranteeing a gain of productivity. But it also carries cracks and vulnerabilities… To prevent the IIoT to turn into a time bomb, it’s best to adapt a few best practices to limit intrusions.

1. Be vigilant with default login details

In late 2016, the website KrebsonSecurity and the company Dyn fell victim to a massive attack when connected devices were infected by the botnet Mirai. An analysis of the malware revealed that Mirai had used login details set by default by the manufacturers of cameras, printers, routers and telephones. Therefore, before connecting a device to your company network, we highly recommend changing the default login details.

2. Apply corrective measures

Every day security flaws are found in software and connected objects. After identifying Zero Day vulnerabilities (vulnerabilities for which a fix has not been developed), updates are released to help prevent possible security flaws. These fixes or patches are available on the developer’s website: they must be applied if you want to guarantee the protection of your systems.

3. Map your network and processes

To identify the risks of using connected devices in your company, you must map out your entire network in order to define the links between OT and IIoT. This network map must also be created in conjunction with a map of the company’s essential operating processes. In this way, you can identify the risks weighing on the company’s vital resources and implement a risk management strategy tailored to the environment.

4. Train employees in cybersecurity

The first line of protection against cyberattacks is to build awareness among company employees of good computer hygiene. Control engineers and technicians working on connected systems are now just as concerned by network security issues as are IT engineers. They must be able to understand the risks of plugging in a corrupted USB flash drive without previously scanning it for viruses or the risks of neglecting to update operating systems.

5. Watch over your networks with a cyber control room

To protect your industrial information systems and ensure their preservation and integrity, the best solution is a tailored cybersecurity solution with a Cyber Control Room. Would you like to find out more? Download our pdf Build your Cyber Control Room.

With the multiplication of entry points into networks linked to the IIoT, cybersecurity must be a major concern for industrial companies if they want to effectively protect themselves against data hacks, sabotage and a wide range of other attacks. In addition to employee training, it is also essential to have an effective cybersecurity solution to ensure the surveillance of your industrial systems. Today, this is without a doubt THE major challenge in establishing IT security policies.