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Need New Solutions In 2012, the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team responded to approximately 200 cyber incidents reported by energy companies, public water districts, and other infrastructure facilities.The type and severity of these attacks can vary from conventional malware, spam and phishing attacks to highly targeted, advanced persistent threats and nation-state sponsored activities Historically, separating critical industrial networks from corporate IT using an “air gap” has been the security method of choice for OT operators.Historically, these attacks targeted IT systems, and malware could move from IT to OT systems.While spear phishing attacks are the most common, it is the threat of malware or targeted cyber attacks to an OT system that is of greatest concern.For example, OT equipment carries software that needs updating.Despite the security risk, these updates often come by way of software carried from the corporate network or a contractor’s network through a USB drive.Increasingly, cyber attacks consist of a series of seemingly unrelated events that are deliberately conducted over an extended period so as not to raise suspicion.

IT network security has adopted the concept of “defense in depth,” where multiple layers of security are placed throughout the network environment.The more exposed to external systems and the outside world an industrial control system becomes, the higher the risk and the greater the threat.In addition, there is a significant risk of an individual with “insider” knowledge using his skills to manipulate a system to detrimental effect, or of a process error or unintentional numerical error propagating through a system and causing damage.Driven by a desire to improve efficiency, enhance productivity and lower costs, the continued industry push for process automation and enhancing both human and machine connectivity is driving many in the oil and gas industry to seek even greater convergence of their IT and OT networks.Such convergence mandates new security solutions capable of addressing the new security threats this introduces.

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