A new survey released by Barracuda Networks Inc. has found that organizations are struggling to protect operational technology, and they are getting hacked as a result.
The report. titled “The State of Industrial Security in 2022,” was conducted by independent market researcher Vanson Bourne and involved 800 participants, including senior IT security managers. The research revealed that 93% of responding organizations had experienced failed industrial internet of things or operational technology security projects.
“People realize it’s not just laptops and devices you are trying to secure,” said Tim Jefferson (pictured, left), senior vice president of data, network and application security at Barracuda. “Now it’s refrigerators and robots and manufacturing floors. This is a huge increase in surface area. So many different devices and things and objects are getting connected now, and it creates a huge challenge for security teams to get their arms around that.”
Jefferson spoke with theCUBE industry analyst John Furrier at AWS re:Inforce, during an exclusive broadcast on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio. He was joined by Sinan Eren (pictured, right), vice president of zero-trust engineering at Barracuda, and he discussed the challenges involved in securing industrial networks and Barracuda’s focus on zero trust at the edge. (*Disclosure below.)
Barracuda’s survey and focus on industrial IoT and operational technology highlight an important part of the cybersecurity challenge. Industrial and operational systems, such as oil and gas pipelines or utilities, supply vital services for tens of millions of people daily. Any disruption, such as the Colonial Pipeline attack in 2021, can be widely felt.
“We’re talking about operational technology here,” Eren said. “Lives depend on these technologies.”
The company has over 200,000 global customers and provides email, data, application, cloud and network security protection. Barracuda’s solutions encompass remote access and Secure Access Service Edge safeguards.
“In the end, you’re taking your controls and migrating them into the cloud,” Jefferson said. “Ultimately, this creates a great opportunity to embrace security best practices that were difficult to do in legacy architectures, which is being able to push your controls as far out to the edge as possible. It’s the thing edge, device edge, user edge.”
One of the challenges in industrial and operational security is to assign identities in environments where users and automation hardware combine to deliver services. This will require a concerted focus on zero trust network access, or ZTNA, to provide a greater level of security.
“The legacy notion of being able to put control and rules based on network constructs doesn’t really scale anymore,” Eren noted. “You need this concept of another abstraction layer of identity that belongs to a service, that belongs to an application, that belongs to a user, that belongs to a piece of hardware. Identity is basically going to operationalize zero trust and a lot more secure access going forward.”
Barracuda provides enterprise backup services and has noticed that an increase in ransomware attacks has been accompanied by targeting of backup files. Deletion of critical backup information will give attackers greater leverage in convincing victims to pay ransom.
“They are breaking into management planes, looking at control frameworks, and the first thing they’ll do is delete the backups,” Jefferson said. “We’ve been running this service for over a decade and, historically, the amount of ransomware escalations that we got were very low. Over the last 18 months, this is routine now for us; this is something we deal with on a daily basis.”
Here’s the complete video interview, part of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the AWS re:Inforce event:
(* Disclosure: Barracuda Networks Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither Barracuda nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)
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