Attacks/Breaches
7/2/2012
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Cyberattack Reports On U.S. Critical Infrastructure Jump Dramatically

A new report from ICS-CERT shows the number of reported incidents increased from 9 to 198 between 2009 and 2011.

U.S. critical infrastructure companies saw a dramatic increase in the number of reported cyber-security incidents between 2009 and 2011, according to a new report from the U.S. Industrial Control System Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT).

In 2009, ICS-CERT fielded 9 incident reports. In 2010, that number increased to 41. In 2011, it was 198. Of those 198, seven resulted in the deployment of onsite incident response teams from ICS-CERT, and 21 of the other incidents involved remote analysis efforts by the Advanced Analytics Lab. Incidents specific to the water sector, when added to those that impacted multiple sectors, accounted for more than half of the incidents due to a larger number of Internet-facing control system devices reported by independent researchers, according to the report.

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Andrew Hornback
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Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/3/2012 | 2:26:54 AM
re: Cyberattack Reports On U.S. Critical Infrastructure Jump Dramatically
This really isn't that surprising, is it? How many Fed talking heads have been screaming about how CyberWarfare is the next realm that we need to achieve superiority in?

At any rate - anecdotally, I can remember a number of years ago when I was working for a producer of energy and automation products that were used to control anything from paint mixers to nuclear reactors and looking at their options for interfacing their PLC networks with dial-up connectivity. The idea was that the plants could be controlled remotely and from a centralized location.

Great idea - except that as long as that modem was answering, there really weren't many safeguards in to prevent it from being abused. Now, while it might be fun to change the mix levels on a vat of paint and turn 1,000 gallons of white into 1,000 gallons of something other than white; however, the risk inherent in using dial-up to monitor/configure a nuclear power plant was horrifically scary to me.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
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The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

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