What are the Steps to Protect Industrial Control Systems

What are the Steps to Protect Industrial Control Systems

By Gov CIO Outlook | Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The advancement in the industrial control systems and IoT is bringing new information and control in the delivery of government services.

FREMONT, CA: The concept of an industrial control system is not new, so the private companies and government agencies have used the technology of ICS to demonstrate crucial infrastructures and technical procedures for a long time. However, the invention of the Internet of Things (IoT) has immensely changed the terms and conditions of a threat to the systems.

Earlier the government offices are used to keep their ICS devices under their desks, but now they are connected to the internet, and that permits them to provide real-time analytics and remote management. However, the distressing part about the technology is, this similar capability has the potential of exposing the ICS devices to remote attacks. With that, cyber attackers can create a hazardous operating system.

Therefore the National Institute of Standards and Technology knows the value of securing the systems and load of having understaffed government agencies that are responsible for operating the systems. Here are some of the steps that can be taken by the local and state government agencies so that they can decrease the risk of a vulnerable ICS.

1. Agencies must have an Appropriate Inventory for ICS Components

The agencies need to have an appropriate inventory before they apply accurate security controls. The departments that are responsible for the infrastructure operations manage and install the industrial control systems, and these departments sometimes can be outside the purview of the IT teams as they are observed as components and not technology systems.

The cybersecurity teams introducing the ICS security devices must start with accumulating information from different departments about the kind and nature of ICS components that they operate under their purview. It might be useful if the officials know about the description of the systems so that they can quickly identify them.

2. Evaluating the Risk of ICS Components

With the development of the appropriate ICS components, the teams of cybersecurity must focus on the risk assessment design that is used for establishing the probability and impact of the attacks against every system.

The security teams can get valuable information for assisting in the assessment procedure by conducting automated vulnerability scans. The scans will help to discover not only the problem areas but also the ones that are exposed to the public internet. The risk assessment must provide priority lists of the systems that need to be repaired.

3. Importance of Segment ICS Networks

Several successful ICS attacks had happened when the components of the systems were accidentally connected with the internet and the allocated public IP addresses. Attacks might also occur when a part compromises with a standard workstation on the government network and uses the same station as a starting point for recognizing the critical infrastructure components that run on the same network.

The network segmentation is one of the crucial components that can be used for increasing the security of ICS as it puts a limitation on the ability of cyber attackers. The components of the ICS must be placed on the special-purpose network that has been dedicated to the sensitive control systems. The managers

Moreover, the network segmentation does not need any expensive or dedicated network. Instead, the agencies can make use of the logical security controls in firewalls for isolating the susceptible systems from other devices.

4. Necessity to Observe the ICS Components Security

The cybersecurity teams have knowledge about the significance of monitoring the systems and networks in real-time. Maximum of the government companies operate their security or use a shared service SOC. The security logs from the ICS devices must be implemented in the monitoring tools that are sued by the SOCs, and the SOC analysts need to be trained about the methods to recognize and prioritize the possible threats in the critical infrastructure systems.

See Also: Top Cyber Security Solution Companies

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