IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

91% of industrial organizations open to cyber attacks

New report finds it's easy for hackers to breach corporate infrastructure

Man in a yellow hard hat working on a computer

According to a Positive Technologies report, hackers can penetrate the corporate network at 91% of industrial organizations. 

The report’s authors said attack vectors for accessing critical systems can be simple, and the potential damage severe.

In 2020, the industrial sector was the second most popular target for hackers after the government sector. According to the firm’s analysis, 12% of all attacks targeted industrial companies.

The main threats for industrial companies are espionage and financial losses. In 2020, data theft motivated 84% of hackers, while financial gain was the aim of 36% of criminals.

The report found that once inside the internal network, attackers can steal user credentials and obtain full control over the infrastructure in 100% of cases. It also found that hackers can steal sensitive data, including information about partners and company employees, email correspondence, and internal documentation, at 69% of companies.

Not only that, but penetration testers accessed the industrial control system (ICS) networks at 75% of these companies. This allowed them to access actual industrial control systems in 56% of cases. The report said this showed that by accessing the ICS network, attackers could also access industrial process automation systems, which could lead to serious consequences ranging from work disruption to human casualties.

The report said the protection of the industrial sector requires modeling of critical systems to test their parameters, verify the feasibility of business risks, and detect security vulnerabilities. However, assessing the possibility of cyber incidents on real-world infrastructure is nearly impossible, according to the report’s authors.

Related Resource

The state of ransomware in retail 2021

Insights into the current state of ransomware in the retail sector

Whitepaper front coverFree download

Olga Zinenko, senior analyst at Positive Technologies, said cyber security level at most industrial companies is too low for comfort.

“In most cases, Internet-accessible external network perimeters contain weak protection, device configurations contain flaws, and we find a low level of ICS network security and the use of dictionary passwords and outdated software versions present risks,” he said.

The report recommended industrial companies use cyber ranges to analyze production systems’ cyber security and enable info security specialists to correctly verify the unacceptable cyber events to their business, evaluate their implications, and assess possible damage without disrupting real business processes. 

Featured Resources

Accelerating AI modernisation with data infrastructure

Generate business value from your AI initiatives

Free Download

Recommendations for managing AI risks

Integrate your external AI tool findings into your broader security programs

Free Download

Modernise your legacy databases in the cloud

An introduction to cloud databases

Free Download

Powering through to innovation

IT agility drive digital transformation

Free Download

Recommended

LockBit 2.0 ransomware disguised as PDFs distributed in email attacks
Security

LockBit 2.0 ransomware disguised as PDFs distributed in email attacks

27 Jun 2022
Best free malware removal tools 2022
Security

Best free malware removal tools 2022

22 Jun 2022
A guide to cyber security certification and training
Careers & training

A guide to cyber security certification and training

16 Jun 2022
What is shoulder surfing?
social engineering

What is shoulder surfing?

10 Jun 2022

Most Popular

Actively exploited server backdoor remains undetected in most organisations' networks
cyber attacks

Actively exploited server backdoor remains undetected in most organisations' networks

1 Jul 2022
Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup
data breaches

Former Uber security chief to face fraud charges over hack coverup

29 Jun 2022
Why India wants to become a chipmaking powerhouse
components

Why India wants to become a chipmaking powerhouse

28 Jun 2022