OT security is commonly used to protect Industrial Systems and networks from attacks. Operational technology security is used to protect and control critical infrastructures such as power stations, transportation networks, and smart city appliances.
The 5 Steps of Operational Security
ICS stands for Industrial Control System. It encompasses both SCADA and DCS. Many infrastructures and raw material systems can be monitored using an ICS network. As an example, in a mining operation, conveyor belts are used; The electric grid's power usage; pressures in a natural gas facility’s valve. ICS networks are mission-critical, requiring high availability and quick response. In many ways, this distinction between IT and OT/ICS systems is exemplified by this emphasis. The Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability (CIA) triangle ensures that security is a top priority in IT. Integrity and confidentiality come second to availability in OT/ICS networks.
The major differences are-
Distributed Control System (DCS) is a type of process control system that connects controllers, sensors, operator terminals, and actuators. The data acquisition and control functions are performed by distributed processors situated near the peripheral devices or instruments from which data is being gathered. While DCS and SCADA are functionally very similar, DCS is generally employed at large, continuous processing facilities. Operations are almost always controlled onsite rather than remotely.
Maintaining control of all physical assets to ensure their safe operation at all times is the primary objective of OT cybersecurity and overrides all other concerns.
With the rise of the internet within the industrial sector, OT systems are also being exposed to the same disruptive threats that exist for all internet-connected devices, such as intellectual property theft, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) botnets, and ransomware attacks.
Examples of operational technology include plant floor control systems, hospital diagnostic and monitoring systems, transportation control systems, automated teller machines (ATMs), civil infrastructure (e.g., tollway automation and water management), and more. Traditionally, while these systems might be computer-based, their technology and communications were proprietary and specialized, and they would be physically isolated from corporate IT networks in the interest of security.
Devices in the OT domain communicate with one or more intelligent IoT gateways, using their own bearers and protocols (e.g., industrial protocols) and in turn transmit data to an integration platform, where data are processed into real-time information used by IoT services.
Proactive security measures are all processes and activities performed periodically and continuously within the organization, focused on identifying and eliminating vulnerabilities within the network infrastructure, preventing security breaches, and evaluating the effectiveness of the business security posture in real-time.
Proactive security assessments for OT should incorporate the following fundamental guiding principles-
The OT targeted attack lifecycle goes as-
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