Digital attack attempts in industrial environments are on the rise. In February 2020, IBM X-Force reported that it had observed a 2,000% increase in the attempts by threat actors to target Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Operational Technology (OT) assets between 2018 and 2020. This surge eclipsed the total number of attacks against organizations’ industrial environments that had occurred over the previous three years combined.
The growth in the number of attacks discussed above is at least partially tied to OT’s ongoing convergence with Information Technology (IT). Previously, IT and OT were worlds unto themselves. IT personnel mainly helped to maintain the PCs, servers, and other technology assets that interacted with or, in some way, handled enterprise-related information. In contrast, OT staff members primarily managed controllers and segmented the industrial network. There was some collaboration, but this was limited to specific purposes like submitting work orders and billing.