The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is proliferating across industrial plants, connecting sensors, connecting machines to machines, and sending condition data on plant equipment to outside vendor. The result is improved efficiencies and increased optimization. Yet with that connectivity, there are also a few headaches in the form of cyber security challenges.
Much of the connectivity shift includes moving from proprietary systems to standard IP networks. “When you move from proprietary to standard IP, there are efficiently gains from communication and connectivity, but there are also security vulnerabilities migrating to the OT network,” Dave Meltzer, chief research officer at Tripwire, a cyber threat detection company, told Design News. “Traditionally the plant was disconnected from the public internet, but the leap from IP to OT has become very real which gives the attacker easier access to OT networks.”
One of the challenges in protecting the industrial network against cyber intrusions is the inability to know if the network has been compromised. “When someone breaks into a manufacturing operating system, nobody finds about out it,” said Meltzer. “We’ve seen this in a handful of incidents that have been publicized, and we’ve seen it in many more behind the scenes.”
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