The Cost of OT Cybersecurity Incidents and How to Reduce Risk

Cyberattacks can cause devastating business disruptions and lead to financial losses reaching hundreds of millions of dollars.

The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report ranked cyberattacks causing disruption to operations and critical infrastructure among the top five increasing global risks. Accenture estimates that the number of cyberattacks has gone up by 67% in the last five years.

The increasing digital connectivity of industrial networks opens them up to cyber threats, underscoring the importance of protecting not just IT systems, but also operational technology (OT) systems. An analysis of the most prominent cyberattacks that occurred over the past five years across a variety of industries – conducted by Nozomi Networks – shows that OT systems were frequently impacted. Industry sources confirm that regardless of the type of malware deployed, victims suffer business disruption, information loss, revenue loss and equipment damage.

Fortunately, new technology is available that significantly reduces risk by improving the cybersecurity of industrial networks. Simpler to deploy than you might expect, it delivers a nearly immediate ROI.

Improving Enterprisewide Cybersecurity

While increasing cyber threats dominate the news, there is reason to be optimistic. New technology, such as the Nozomi Networks solution, is easy and safe to deploy, dramatically improves OT/IoT cybersecurity and integrates seamlessly with IT infrastructure.

High Profile Industrial Cybersecurity Incidents

• Duke Energy
Electric Power Company

A NotPetya attack disrupted operations for two weeks, blocking access to systems the company relied on to operate shipping terminals. The incident temporarily shut down the Port of Los Angeles’ largest cargo terminal. The company lost $300 million in business disruption and equipment damage.

Maersk had to undertake an almost complete infrastructure overhaul. They reinstalled 4,000 servers, 45,000 PCs and 2,500 applications over the course of ten days, a process that would normally have taken six months to implement.

• Saudi Petrochemical Plant
Oil and Gas

A petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia, owned by Tasnee, was the victim of a milestone cyberattack that aimed to impact its physical process, by interacting with and controlling its safety system. Fortunately, TRITON’s programming led to an automated, safe shutdown of the facility, rather than the intended explosion or uncontrolled disruption.

While the costs of the incident were not disclosed, they included business disruption, process disruption, revenue loss and a major cyber investigation.

• Norsk Hydro
Metals and Mining

The ransomware LockerGoga blocked the company’s systems, forcing a switch to manual operations and workarounds. The Extruded Solutions unit, which makes components for car manufacturing, construction and other industries, reduced its output by 50%.

Administrative systems, such as reporting, billing and invoicing, suffered delays. It took Norsk Hydro several weeks to bring operations back to normal. Lost margins and low production volumes were estimated to cost up to $70 million.

How to Reduce Risk with OT and IoT Visibility and Security Technology

In order to reduce the risk of a cyberattack disrupting business and impacting the bottom line, organizations need to address the cybersecurity risks of industrial systems with the same vigilance they apply to IT systems.

Doing so requires technology that monitors and secures OT networks in real-time. The Nozomi Networks solution is ideal because it is purpose-built and safe for industrial networks, yet integrates easily with existing security infrastructure.

Providing a common platform for both IT and OT teams, the Nozomi Networks solution delivers:

• Superior OT and IoT visibility

• Best-in-class OT and IoT threat detection

• Rapid deployment across many sites

By improving the cyber resiliency of industrial networks and reducing the mean time to respond to cyber threats, the Nozomi Networks solution minimizes the damage and cost of OT cyber incidents.

How to Reduce Risk with OT and IoT Visibility and Security Technology

The Nozomi Networks solution automatically identifies weaknesses in industrial control networks that compromise cybersecurity.

IT/OT teams gain real-time visibility of the industrial network and cybersecurity risks, which helps them improve cyber resilience. Ongoing efforts in this area ensure that an organization is applying the best practices needed to meet and exceed cybersecurity standards.

Detecting and Containing Ransomware

Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing types of cyberattacks, showing a 21% jump in inflicted losses within the past year.2 The Nozomi Networks solution rapidly identifies known ransomware in industrial systems. Staff are alerted and provided with the OT-specific information and tools they need to quickly contain and mitigate damage.

To make sure risk monitoring is current, the Nozomi Networks solution includes a subscription service called Threat IntelligenceTM. It delivers regular threat and vulnerability updates created by a team of specialized industrial security researchers.

Identifying and Mitigating OT-Specific Malware

Malware is the costliest type of cyberattack, reaching an average of $2.6 million annually for organizations. The Nozomi Networks solution immediately identifies known OT-specific malware and is regularly updated via the Threat Intelligence service.

In the case of new malware for which no signatures exist, anomaly detection is used to identify suspicious activity.

How to Reduce Risk

Remediation costs and efforts to repair operational and reputational damage can put significant strain on leadership teams. Proactive planning, smart investments in technology, and integration of IT and OT security systems can prevent or reduce the negative consequences of cyberattacks.

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The Cost of OT Cybersecurity Incidents and How to Reduce Risk

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