Operational technology

Security checklist for OT (operational technology) devices 

Older versions become easy targets for cybercriminals.

What are operation technology devices? 
Operational Technology manages and controls industrial operations where changes, mainly associated with the physical environment, are detected and altered. Devices that mainly come under OT are security control devices, devices used for automating critical industrial infrastructures, and more. 
What is the security concern related to OT? 
OT-IoT convergence posed the most extensive security concerns. This led to a shift from point-to-point to public network connection, making OT vulnerable to remote access. As OT manages critical infrastructures that fall from the product supply chain to healthcare services, any loophole for malware injection can even lead to fatality.  
Triton attack, also known as Industroyer, is the most prominent example of malware attack on OT technology. This malware was first detected in a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia. The threat analysts mistook the error as a mechanical glitch at first, but later on, concluded it was caused by malware. If not identified promptly, this could have led to the release of toxic hydrogen sulfide gas ending in a huge disaster. 
Here are the top 5 security checklists you must follow to avoid being compromised. 
Know your Resources 
Understand your OT device’s location and the respective roles assigned to them. The network must be analyzed to avoid connectivity errors. This will ease the process of discovering and mitigating risks.  
Abide by the safety regulations of OT devices 
Before modifying an OT device, read the safety regulations applied to that device. For security reasons, some devices will not allow modification. Moreover, if modified, can develop a loophole for malware injection. A short briefing or training session on security measures and guidelines must be conducted to be aware of what they are working on. 
Employ a zero-trust security framework 
“Never trust, always verify.” Verify the user’s credibility before authorizing access to resources. The least privilege policy must be implemented to avoid giving unnecessary permissions to employees. Revoke the access of former employees as soon as they leave the company. 
Implement Access Management 
Employ strict access control by granting permissions only to the resources particular to the job requirements of each user. Monitor the attempts made to access the resources. Check the interconnected devices and ask yourself, ‘Should these devices be connected?’ 
Upgrade regularly  
As technology advances every day, older versions can become easy targets for cybercriminals. Make it a practice to upgrade the devices to the latest version as soon as they expire.  
As digitalization took over, OT technologies previously isolated from the public network are now exposed to the digital world.  
Always follow these guidelines and stay updated with the latest cybersecurity trends to prevent your OT devices from being compromised.