الرئيسية / ENGLISH / Share of attacks against the building automation and oil & gas industries grow in the first half of 2020

Share of attacks against the building automation and oil & gas industries grow in the first half of 2020

Over the first six months of 2020, the percent of systems attacked

in the oil & gas and building automation industries increased when

compared to H1 and H2 2019. This growth occurred as thepercent of industrial

control system (ICS) computers attacked in most industriesdeclined as cybercriminals

shifted their focus to distributing more targeted and focused threats.

Attacks against industrial organizations always carry the potential to be

particularly devastating, both in terms of disruption to production and financial losses.

In addition,attacks against industrial enterpriseshave become more targeted,

organized by sophisticated threat actors with extensive resources whose goals

may not just be financial gain but also cyberespionage.

This past winter, spring and early summer, the industries most proneto attacks

were building automation and oil & gas. Attacks against the latter have the potential

to be particularly devastating given the massive financial losses already

incurred as a result of the recent pandemic. The percentage of ICS computers

on which malicious objects were blocked grew from 38% in H2 2019 to

39.9% in H1 2020 in the building automation industry and 36.3 to 37.8% in theoil & gas industry.

Percentage of ICS computers on which malicious objects were blocked in selected industries

Building automation systems, in general, tend to be more often exposed to attacks.

They often have a larger attack surface than traditional ICS computers because

they are frequently connected to corporate networks and the Internet. At the same time,

because they traditionally belong to contractor organizations, these systems

are not always managed by the organization’s corporate information security

team—making them an easier target

The growth in the percent of ICS computers attacked in the oil & gas

industry can be traced back to the development of a variety of worms

(malicious programs that self-replicate on the infected device)written in script languages,

specifically Python and PowerShell. These worms are able to gather

authentication credentials from the memory of system processes using

different versions of theMimikatz utility. From the end of March to

mid-June 2020, a large number of these worms were detected,

primarily in China and the Middle Eas

The increase in the percent of ICS systems attacked in the oil & gas

and building automation industries was the exception for the first half of 2020:

the percent of systems attacked in most other industries declined.

This occurred as attackers appeared to shift their focus from mass attacks to

distributing more focused and targeted threats, including backdoors

(dangerous Trojans that gain remote control over the infected device),

spyware (malicious programs designed to steal data) and ransomware

attacks (which tend to target specific enterprises).

In fact, there were noticeably more families of backdoors and spyware built

on the .NET platform that were detected and blocked on ICS computers.

The percent of ICS computers affected by ransomware grew slightly in H1 2020 when

compared to H2 2019 across all industries,

with a series of attacks witnessed against medical facilities and industrial companies.

Industrial companies were also the victim of sophisticated campaigns

by advanced persistent threat (APT) actors

“Thepercent of ICS computers attacked across most industries is declining.

However, there are still threats to contend with.

The more targeted and sophisticated attacks are,

the greater potential they have to cause significant damage—even if they

occur less frequently

What’s more, with many enterprises forced to work remotely and sign in to

corporate systems from home, ICS have naturally become more exposed to cyberthreats.

And with fewer on-sight personnel, there are fewer people available to

respond and mitigate an attack, meaning the consequences may be far more devastating.

Given that the oil & gas and building automation infrastructures appear

to be apopular target among attackers, it’s crucial that these system owners and

operators take extra security precautions,”comments EvgenyGoncharov,

security expert at Kaspersky

Learn more about the industrial threat landscape for H1 2020 onICS CERT.

To keep your ICS computers protectedfrom various threats, Kaspersky experts recommend:

· Regularly update operating systems and application software that are part of the

enterprise’s industrial network. Apply security fixes and patches to ICS

network equipment as soon as they are available.

· Conductregular security audits of OT systems to identify and eliminate possible vulnerabilities.

· Use ICS network traffic monitoring, analysis and detection

solutions for better protection from attacks potentially threatening

technological process and main enterprise assets.

· Dedicated ICS security training for IT security teams and OT engineers

is crucial to improve response to new and advanced malicious techniques.

· Provide the security team responsible for protecting industrial

control systems with up-to-date threat intelligence.

ICS Threat Intelligence Reporting service provides insights into current

threats and attack vectors, as well as the most vulnerable elements in OT and

industrial control systems and how to mitigate them.

· Use security solutions for OT endpoints and network such as Kaspersky

Industrial CyberSecurity to ensure comprehensive protection for all industry critical systems.

It is no less important to protect IT infrastructure as well.

Integrated Endpoint Security protects corporate endpoints and

enables automated threat detection and response capabilities

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