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Using the Attack Cycle to Up Your Security Game
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homerjohnl
homerjohnl,
User Rank: Author
8/27/2020 | 4:21:54 PM
OT, the expanding attack surface...or just the newly discovered one
Thanks Todd for your article. It does seem like as new attack surface becomes available, this expands the possible attacks. One of the interesting cases, however, is of OT or ICS systems. These have been around forever, yet the attacks have been fewer than in traditional IT. You mention Stuxnet in your article which is a seminal example of a true OT/ICS attack. However, the attack surface hasn't been as exploited as one might expect. This is not to understate the growing number of attacks and threats; simply to compare it to the IT world.

But things are changing for two reasons. First, attackers have found profitable ways to take advantage of these systems (ransomware especially, but also espionage. So no longer is this just about nation-state risk to critical infrastructure. Second, the attack surface has expanded exponentially in the past 6 months with the increase of remote support of ICS/OT systems as well as the fact that IIOT is beginning to hit a tipping point of growth. The "air gap" that many have pointed to for defense was never truly a gap, but in many cases it created at least a minimal bump in the attacker path. Now, with remote access, the illusion of any air gap is gone. And as IIOT devices connect directly to the cloud, operators have created new angles into these environments.

It will take the hacker commununity some time to learn and develop skills for threatening ICS/OT at scale. But this expansion of the attack surface with new found ways of monetization create significant threats for unprotected ICS systems.


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