Energy utilities are critical to production and performance for both public organizations and private companies. This industry has been historically insular — ICS and SCADA systems were typically secured on internal networks with no outside-facing connectivity.
Thanks to the evolution of industrial IoT devices and the need for always-connected monitoring and reporting tools, the energy sector has undergone significant changes over the past decade to boost accessibility and improve operational agility. The caveat? Malicious actors now recognize the potential in disrupting utility IT to wreak havoc, steal data or demand ransomware payouts. Just as energy companies have embraced the need for next-gen technologies to empower business success, they now must upgrade utility cyber security to short-circuit IT attacks.
Cyberattacks in the energy utility sector are on the rise. In fact, recent data found that lateral movement and internal reconnaissance behaviors were seen at higher rates across energy networks than other industries on average.
Two factors conspire to drive this increase. One is the rapidly-expanding interconnections across utility systems as companies look to leverage data from mobile and IoT devices. The other is the historic lack of high-level cyber security for energy and utilities. This creates a perfect opportunity for hackers. Systems that are considered secure now offer ease of movement across utility networks to access key operational systems. At the same time, many energy enterprises lack the IT infrastructure necessary to detect, isolate and remediate new threats.
Insider risks are also on the rise as individuals with privileged access offer a secondary route to utility compromise. Phishing attacks, business email compromise and lacking encryption of critical data conspire to reduce overall network security.
Powering up Cyber Security for Electric Utilities
To address the growing impact of malicious external threats and accidental internal compromise, organizations need purpose-built cyber security for electric utilities. At HALOCK Security Labs, we can provide services including:
- Penetration testing — Where are your weak points? What, if any, vulnerabilities have new devices or open-source solutions introduced? Our experts can assess your internal and external networks, web applications and wireless connections to develop key security strategies.
- Security engineering — What’s your “as-is” security posture? What’s your “to-be” security aim? We have the industry experience and expertise necessary to help design and implement utility cyber security that addresses current issues and speaks to emerging needs.
- Workforce management — Finding the right talent isn’t easy, and it’s getting harder as the cyber security skills gap widens. Our executive, full-time and contract hiring services help find the best-fit professionals for your needs.
- Incident Response – When a breach does occur, you need to address the attack immediately, contain it, and remediate the threat. Having a trusted, expert incident response team to stop, fix, and an ongoing incident response plan to keep your data secure.
- Third Party Risk Management/Vendor Risk Management – Ensure third-party partners are aligned with your organization’s risk controls. Vendors and contractors serve as an extension of your group. They represent you and should operate under your business requirements. HALOCK can help build and manage a specific program for your environment.
- Risk Assessments – Regulations require your safeguards be reasonable to your organization, customers, and partners. With many frameworks available, how do you establish your acceptable risk? The Duty of Care Risk Assessment (DoCRA) helps you define a balanced security strategy factoring in compliance and safeguards based on your specific business and objectives.
Cyber security for the utilities industry now lags behind industry implementation of new technologies. While digital transformation empowers real-time energy monitoring and power controls, it introduces the potential for IT security shocks as attackers leverage insecure infrastructure to exploit newly connected networks.
HALOCK Security Labs helps prevent security short circuits by combining thought leadership and diagnostic capabilities to build purpose-driven solutions. The actionable outcome is reasonable and appropriate risk management that protects critical assets without negatively impacting performance.
If it’s time for your energy utility to safeguard critical infrastructure and empower operations with improved utility cyber security, let’s talk.