Sensor monitoring technology can make critical infrastructures less attractive targets for ransomware

Ransomware and other IT-originated cyberattacks can affect control systems when IT networks are connected to OT networks or insecure IOT devices are connected to OT networks. Off-line sensor monitoring technology doesn’t stop a ransomware attack, rather the technology is oblivious to the ransomware or IT attack. The off-line process sensor monitoring can provide real time situational awareness when ransomware or other IT cyberattacks occur providing a justification to continue operation making these systems less attractive to ransomware attackers. This was confirmed at a water facility where the OT system went down and the off-line sensor monitoring system continued working.  Additionally, the off-line sensor monitoring technology identified equipment operating issues not detected by the filtered Windows-based HMI in water, power, chemicals, and building controls. This solution can be part of comprehensive contingency planning program that would include the capability for manual operation when automation operation is lost and can be employed by any organization utilizing process sensors to measure pressure, level, flow, temperature, voltage, etc.

Control Systems Cybersecurity Expert, Joseph M. Weiss, is an international authority on cybersecurity, control systems and system security. Weiss weighs in on cybersecurity, science and technology, security emerging threats and more.