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Malware Attack: How Human Error Plays Significant Role in Compromising ICS Systems

Malware Attack: How Human Error Plays Significant Role in Compromising ICS Systems

Kaspersky in its latest report has disclosed that despite all the innovations in modern cybersecurity solutions, human error still played a significant role in compromising Industrial control system (ICS) systems.

This disclosure was made upon discovery that 40 per cent of global industrial control system computers were attacked with malware in 2022.

Industrial control system (ICS) is a collective term used to describe different types of control systems and associated instrumentation, which include the devices, systems, networks, and controls used to operate and/or automate industrial processes. Depending on the industry, each ICS functions differently and are built to electronically manage tasks efficiently.

Kaspersky tech expert and consultant in the Middle East and African region, Brandon Muller, said, “One infected USB drive or a single spear-phishing email is all it takes for cyber criminals to bridge the air gap and penetrate an isolated ICS network.

“Traditional security is not adequate to protect industrial environments from rapidly evolving cyber threats. As attacks against critical infrastructure increase, choosing the right approach to secure systems has never been more important.

“As such, it needs to be managed much more proactively than what is currently happening. This requires utility companies, mines, and others operating in the industrial environment to look at building a Human Firewall,” the firm counselled.

Explaining ICS, Kaspersky stated that ICS were a collection of personnel, hardware, and software that can affect or influence the safe, secure, and reliable operation of an industrial process.

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It said, “IT is one component of this environment with operational technology (OT) another key element. While traditional cybersecurity solutions focus on data-oriented businesses, ICS protection is geared towards OT security where it is all about cyber-physical companies such as utilities, mining, manufacturing, and so on.

“Effective OT cybersecurity measures must, therefore, include industrial endpoint protection to prevent accidental infections and make motivated intrusion more difficult, OT network monitoring and anomaly detection to identify malicious actions on the level of programmable logic controllers, and dedicated expert services to investigate the infrastructure, conduct expert analytics, or mitigate the impact of an incident.”

In Africa, the malware figure was at 47 per cent with Ethiopia having the highest attack (62 per cent),  followed by Algeria (59 per cent), and Burundi (57 per cent).

Rwanda (46 per cent), Kenya (41 per cent), Nigeria and Zimbabwe (both at 40 per cent), Ghana (39 per cent), Zambia (38 per cent) and South Africa and Uganda (both at 36 per cent) both complete the top countries in Africa.

The firm explained that this was a high growth threat landscape on the continent affecting both public and private sector entities, especially those in critical sectors like energy.


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