Nozomi Networks-Sponsored SANS Survey Finds Security Defenses are Strengthening

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Nozomi Networks announced the SANS 2022 OT/ICS Cybersecurity Report finds ICS cybersecurity threats remain high as adversaries set their sights on control system components. In response, organisations have significantly matured their security postures since last year. In spite of the progress, more than a third (35%) don’t know whether their organisations had been compromised and attacks on engineering workstations doubled in the last 12 months.

“In the last year, Nozomi Networks researchers and the ICS cybersecurity community have witnessed attacks like  Incontroller move beyond traditional targets on enterprise networks, to directly targeting OT,” said Nozomi Networks Co-founder and CPO Andrea Carcano. “While threat actors are honing their ICS skills, the specialised technologies and frameworks for a solid defense are available. The survey found that more organisations are proactively using them. Still, there’s work to be done. We encourage others to take steps now to minimise risk and maximise resilience.”

ICS Cybersecurity Risks Remain High

  • 62% of respondents rated the risk to their OT environment as high or severe (down slightly from 69.8% in 2021).
  • Ransomware and financially motivated cybercrimes topped the list of threat vectors (39.7%) followed by nation-state sponsored attacks (38.8%). Non-ransomware criminal attacks came in third (cited by 32.1%), followed closely by hardware/software supply chain risks (30.4%).
  • While the number of respondents who said they had experienced a breach in the last 12 months dropped to 10.5% (down from 15% in 2021), 35% of those said the engineering workstation was an initial infection vector (doubling from 18.4% last year).
  • 35% did not know whether their organisations had been compromised (down from 48%) and 24% were confident that they hadn’t had an incident, a 2x improvement over the previous year.
  • In general, IT compromises remain the dominant access vector (41%) followed by replication through removable media (37%).

ICS Cybersecurity Postures are Maturing

  • 66% say their control system security budget increased over the past two years (up from 47% last year).
  • 56% say they are now detecting compromises within the first 24 hours of an incident (up from 51% in 2021). The majority (69%) say they move from detection to containment within 6 to 24 hours.
  • 5% have conducted a security audit of their OT/control systems or networks in the past year (up from 75.9% last year) – one-third (29%) have now implemented a continual assessment program.
  • The overwhelming majority (83%) monitor their OT system security. Of those, 41% used a dedicated OT SOC
  • Organisations are investing in ICS training and certification: 83% of respondents are professional control system certification holders – a significant jump from 54% in the last 12 months.
  • Nearly 80% have roles that emphasize ICS operations up from 50% in 2021.

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