Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

At the 9th annual Cyber Security Weekend – META conference held recently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kaspersky (www.Kaspersky.co.za) presented an industrial cybersecurity review for the countries in the region and outlined the key cybersecurity challenges for industrial enterprises in the year ahead.

According to Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) statistics, in the second half of 2023, 32.6% of ICS computers globally had been attacked with malware. In the Middle East, Turkiye, and Africa (META) region the figure is 36.5% for Turkiye, 36.8% for Africa (27.5% in South Africa, 34.55% in Kenya, 28.8% in Nigeria, 33.17% in Ghana), and 33.5% for the Middle East region. There is a slight decrease in this figure in the region compared to 2022 which can be the result of industrial organisations paying more attention to cybersecurity.

African countries are undergoing rapid digitalisation and integration into the world’s economy, while at the same time facing a significant cybersecurity under-investment problem. In the second half of 2023, 7.55% of Operational Technology computers in Africa were exposed to threats via USBs (that is 20 times more than the figure of Western Europe); 7.2% faced threat by worms (that is 28 times more than in Australia&New Zealand); and 9.1% of OT computers were exposed to spyware (that is 7.7 times more than the figure for North America).

Kaspersky Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS CERT) predictions for 2024 highlight the persistence of ransomware threats, rise of cosmopolitical hacktivism, an outlook on the state of “offensive cybersecurity”, and transformative shifts in logistics and transport threats.

Looking back at 2023 (https://apo-opa.co/3OXrfus), Kaspersky predicted the industrial cybersecurity landscape continuing to evolve, with several key trends emerging. The pursuit of efficiency in IIoT and SmartXXX systems fueled an expanded attack surface, while the surge in energy carrier prices led to heightened hardware costs, prompting a strategic shift towards cloud services. The growing government involvement in industrial processes also introduced fresh risks, including concerns about data leaks due to underqualified employees and insufficient practices for responsible disclosure.

This retrospective analysis lays the groundwork for understanding the cybersecurity landscape faced by industrial enterprises in 2024, such as:

Ransomware targeting high-value entities

Ransomware is projected to persist as the primary concern for industrial enterprises in 2024. Large organisations, unique product suppliers, and major logistics companies face increased risks, with potential severe economic and social consequences. Cybercriminals are expected to target entities capable of substantial ransom payments, causing disruptions in production and delivery

Cosmopolitical protest hacktivism

Geopolitically motivated hacktivism is forecasted to intensify, presenting more destructive consequences. In addition to country-specific protest movements, the rise of cosmopolitical hacktivism is expected, driven by socio-cultural and macro-economic agendas such as eco-hacktivism. This diversification of motives may contribute to a more complex and challenging threat landscape.

Subtler threats and detection challenges

The use of “offensive cybersecurity” for gathering cyberthreat intelligence is anticipated to have controversial consequences. While it may improve corporate security by providing early signs of potential compromises, the thin line between the grey zone and the shadows may be breached. Profit-driven cyber activities, armed with commercial and open-source tools, could operate more discreetly, making detection and investigation challenging.

Shifts in threats related to logistics and transport connected to automation and digitisation challenges

The rapid automation and digitisation of logistics and transport are introducing new challenges, intertwining cyber and traditional crimes. This includes theft of vehicles and goods, maritime piracy, and smuggling. Non-targeted cyberattacks may lead to physical consequences, especially in river, sea, truck, and special-purpose vehicles.

“The industrial sector’s cybersecurity is continuously going through significant changes, with both new types of attacks and more sophisticated versions of old ones. Ransomware attacks are still a big problem, and hackers are getting better at targeting large, profitable companies with more advanced methods. Hacktivists who are motivated by social issues are also becoming more active, adding another layer of complexity to the threats. The transportation and logistics industry is especially vulnerable to these changes because its systems are becoming more and more digital. This combination of cyber and traditional crime is a serious threat to global supply chains. To protect themselves, organisations need to prioritise cybersecurity and keep improving their defenses,” commented Evgeny Goncharov, head of Kaspersky ICS CERT.

Read the full list of ICS predictions for 2024 at ICS CERT website (https://apo-opa.co/3OYsGZB).

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Kaspersky.

About Kaspersky:
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection, specialized security products and services, as well as Cyber Immune solutions to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help over 220,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.Kaspersky.co.za

By

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *