Marty Edwards, head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT), recently warned attendees at a conference that ICS-CERT, (which assists U.S. businesses in investigating suspected cyber-attacks on industrial control and corporate systems), has seen an increase in attacks to industrial control networks over the past year.
Industrial control networks control operations of industrial processes, such as energy plants, critical infrastructure, manufacturing processes, and food and beverage processing.
This warning follows a power outage in the Ukraine, which has been blamed on a cyber-attack from Russia, and is the first known cyber-attack causing a power outage. ICS-CERT issued an alert last week indicating that it had identified the malware used in the Ukraine attack as BlackEnergy 3, but did not confirm that it caused the outage.
Edwards noted that the increase in attacks is due to the fact that the control systems are connected to the Internet. Companies with industrial control systems may wish to take note of this warning and assess security controls in place over their networks and systems.