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“How hackers exploit critical infrastructure”

The traditional focus of most hackers has been on software, but the historical focus of crime is on anything of value. It should come as no surprise, therefore, that as operational technology (OT) and industrial control system (ICS) infrastructure have become much more prominent components of national critical infrastructure, that malicious hacking activity would be increasingly targeted in this direction.

It also stands to reason that the salient aspects of hacking – namely, remote access, automated tools, and weak attribution – would extend naturally to malicious targeting of critical OT/ICS infrastructure. These attributes are particularly attractive in this context, because criminals interested in disrupting factories, production systems, and other tangible infrastructure, previously had to establish a physical presence or compromise some group with local access.

The new approach to OT/ICS hacking involves a combination of traditional techniques with domain expertise of the systems being targeted – although little expertise might be required to trigger damage to an ICS/OT system. The most powerful issue here is the ability for attackers to target tangible systems such as power plants and refineries, without having to step foot into the local facility. This is a major departure from historic norms.
Article by Edward Amoroso, CEO, TAG Cyber

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