Security

Report: Manufacturing industry most susceptible to ICS cyberthreats

A recent Kaspersky Lab report said that industrial control systems (ICS) computers in manufacturing made up nearly one third of all cyberattacks in early 2017.

According to a report from Kaspersky Lab, released Thursday, the manufacturing industry is one of the most susceptible industries to cyberthreats. According to the report, industrial control systems (ICS) computers in manufacturing account for nearly one third of all attacks in the sector.

The data for the report focused on the first half of 2017, with Kaspersky Lab finding that attacks were most concentrated in March. The report also noted that manufacturing firms focused on materials, equipment, and goods production were targeted the most.

The top three countries with the most attacked ICS computers were Vietnam (71%), Algeria (67.1%), and Morocco (65.4%) the report found. Also, these kinds of attacks increased in China, moving its percentage up to 57.1%.

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In terms of the number of threats, the report identified 18,000 different modifications of malware on industrial systems in early 2017. Those malware modifications came from roughly 2,500 malware families, the report said.

Ransomware was also a big threat to ICS systems. The report said that encryption ransomware belonging to 33 different families were discovered as part of these attacks, and many encryption Trojans came through spam email disguised to look like business communications.

Of course, the WannaCry and ExPetr campaigns were among the most widespread attacks. However, other Trojan families like Locky and Cerber are also providing a way for attackers to make money, the report said.

Evgeny Goncharov, head of critical infrastructure defense department at Kaspersky Lab, said in a press release that the research done in the first half of the year has shed some light on how unprotected some industrial systems really are.

"In this sense, the WannaCry and ExPetr destructive ransomware attacks proved indicative, leading to the disruption of enterprise production cycles around the world, as well as logistical failures, and forced downtime in the work of medical institutions," Goncharov said in the release. "The results of such attacks can provoke intruders into further actions. Since we are already late with preventive measures, companies should think about proactive protective measures now to avoid 'firefighting' in future."

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. According to a Kaspersky Lab report, industrial control systems (ICS) computers in manufacturing account for nearly one third of all attacks against those environments.
  2. ICS systems were attacked by some 18,000 different modifications of malware belonging to 2,500 malware families, the report said.
  3. The WannaCry and ExPetr campaigns were the biggest ransomware attacks against ICS systems, but they were indicative of future attacks affecting manufacturing, the report said.

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Image: iStockphoto/boggy22

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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