A study by PAS Global recently discovered over 10,000 industrial endpoints that are affected by over 380,000 known security vulnerabilities. 

Industrial Control Systems (ICS) are used across the oil and gas industry, power generation, refining and chemical production, pulp and paper manufacturing, and mining industries. While advantageous for various reasons, these systems also pose a serious threat to security. 

This study found that many of the ICS systems used by organizations are impacted by design flaws and weaknesses that could be used by attackers for several reasons, including disruption to business operations and physical damage. The majority of the vulnerabilities identified were found impacting software made by Microsoft. 

The issues found by researchers impact various ICS systems, including human-machine interfaces (HMI), programmable logic controllers (PLC), and distributed control systems (DCS). In the majority of cases, exploitation only requires network access or basic privileges. 

This analysis of Industrial Control Systems (ICS) highlights how some legitimate product features and functions can pose a serious threat to organizations. But how do ICS system operators protect their plants from their own systems, especially if patching may not be an option in some instances? 

Adopting configuration management, especially for the most critical systems and assets, is a great place to start.

Default configuration settings for most platforms are optimized for ease of use and deployment, with security as an afterthought. With Closed-Loop Intelligent Change Control, this will ensure that only changes that are allowed can take place. 

CIS Control 5 highlights the importance of reconfiguring systems to a secure, hardened standard and continuously monitoring for any deviations from that state. NNT and the Center for Internet Security recently hosted a webinar on this essential security control. 

In this webinar, Tony Sager with the CIS and Mark Kedgley with NNT discussed the control elements of CIS Control 5 and explored NNT’s unique SecureOps strategy, with the goal of aligning IT operations with effective security controls that increase service availability while also mitigate security risk.

Watch the webinar recording here, Cybersecurity Lessons from the Death Star: CIS Control #5 Explained in 30 minutes. 

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