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Most IT pros expect an increase in attacks on security of industrial IoT, survey shows

Some 96 percent of IT professionals expect an increase in attacks on the security of industrial IoT (IIoT), a recent survey shows.

Over half said they’re unprepared for malicious campaigns that exploit or misuse the Industrial Internet of Things, even though 64 percent recognize a need for their organizations to protect against such attacks.

"As industrial companies pursue IIoT, it’s important to understand the new threats that can impact critical operations," says Robert Westervelt, security research manager at IDC. "Greater connectivity with operational technology (OT) exposes operational teams to the types of attacks that IT teams are used to seeing, but with even higher stakes. The concern for a cyber attack is no longer focused on loss of data, but safety and availability. Consider an energy utility as an example – cyber attacks could disrupt power supply for communities and potentially have impact to life and safety."

Some 90 percent of survey respondents said they expect their organizations’ deployment of IIoT to increase. This growth will only expand these entities’ attack surface, authors of the study say.

As penetration of IoT devices in industry grows, so will the threats posed to security by their uncontrolled deployment and use.

"We estimate that, starting with 2017, the Internet of Things will be slowly replaced with the Internet of Threats" Bitdefender’s Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi says. Threats against SCADA systems will also become more widespread, as SCADA providers continue to move towards TCP/IP as protocol of choice within their networks and the decreasing cost of chips leads to ever "smarter" (and thus easier to exploit) industrial process controllers and sensors. Personal IoT devices will also increasingly get carried across physical and logical security boundaries by employees, compounding the issues.

According to the Morgan Stanley 2016 Automation World survey, 46% of respondents also say cybersecurity is the main challenge to IIoT adoption.

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