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2019 Press Releases

April 05, 2019

Almost every second industrial computer was subjected to malicious cyber activity in 2018

In 2018, Kaspersky Lab detected and prevented activity by malicous objects on almost half of Industrial Control System (ICS) computers protected by the company’s products and defined as part of an organization’s industrial infrastructure. The most affected countries were Vietnam, Algeria and Tunisia. These are some of the main findings of the Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT report on the industrial threat landscape in H2 2018.

Malicious cyber activities on ICS computers are considered an extremely dangerous threat as they could potentially cause material losses and production downtime in the operation of industrial facilities.
In 2018, the share of ICS computers that experienced such activities grew to 47.2% from 44% in 2017, indicating that the threat is rising.

According to the new report, the top-3 countries in terms of the percentage of ICS computers on which Kaspersky Lab prevented malicious activity were the following: Vietnam (70.09%), Algeria (69.91%), and Tunisia (64.57%). The least impacted nations were Ireland (11.7%), Switzerland (14.9%), and Denmark (15.2%).

Despite the common myth, the main source of threat to industrial computers is not a targeted attack, but mass-distributed malware that gets into industrial systems by accident, over the internet, through removable media such as USB-sticks, or e-mails.

However, the fact that the attacks are successful because of a casual attitude to cybersecurity hygiene among employees means that they can potentially be prevented by staff training and awareness – this is much easier than trying to stop determined threat actors,” said Kirill Kruglov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT.

According to Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky Lab, phishing emails with malicious attachments continue to be the main attack vector for penetrating industrial enterprises in Asia Pacific and in the world.

Our researchers are seeing many carefully crafted phishing emails, sent purportedly by real companies and masked as business correspondence, commercial offers, invitations to tender and so on, which could be very commonly faced by many enterprises in Malaysia. We recommend all companies to warn their staff of this real threat and to train them to recognize signs of an attack, to not open suspicious files or click on links, and to inform their IT department of any potential incidents,” Yeo said.   

H2 2018 saw a decline in ICS infections in Malaysia, 41.1% versus H1 2018 of 50.8%. It is a good sign that users are more aware of the cyber risks, and are becoming careful about it,” Yeo added.

Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT recommends implementing the following technical measures:

  • Regularly update operating systems, application software on systems that are part of the enterprise’s industrial network.

  • Apply security fixes to PLC, RTU and network equipment used in ICS networks where applicable.

  • Restrict network traffic on ports and protocols used on edge routers and inside the organization's OT networks.

  • Audit access control for ICS components in the enterprise’s industrial network and at its boundaries.

  • Deploy dedicated endpoint protection solutions on ICS servers, workstations and HMIs, such as Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity. This solution includes network traffic monitoring, analysis and detection to secure OT and industrial infrastructure from both random malware infections and dedicated industrial threats.

  • Make sure security solutions are up-to-date and all the technologies recommended by the security solution vendor to protect from targeted attacks are enabled.

  • Provide dedicated training and support for employees as well as partners and suppliers with access to your network.

  • Use ICS network traffic monitoring, analysis and detection solutions for better protection from attacks potentially threatening technological process and main enterprise assets.