Chemical Cyber Threat Landscape – Overview
The cyber threat landscape for OT networks is changing rapidly. The classic nation state threat actors, targeting critical infrastructure, are now joined by multiple groups that are leveraging newly disclosed attack tools (such as the ones leaked from the NSA trove by the ShadowBrokers group). New threats include both cyber criminals executing impactful ransomware campaigns as well as the rising potential for jihadists or other terrorists to leverage widely available, and very sophisticated tools and techniques to cause harm.
During the second half of 2017, adversaries using leaked tools have disabled numerous OT networks. Unlike nation state threats, the recent attacks did not specically target plants. However, the indirect or “overspill” damage from these ransomware attacks on various manufacturing plants have mounted to hundreds of millions. The bottom lines is that multiple new, and potentially potent threats exist that chemical plant asset owners must now monitor for and actively defend against.
Within the OT ecosystem, the Chemical industry features a fundamental dependency between process control and human and environmental safety. The production of fertilizers, plastics, pesticides and petrochemical entails the storage and processing of toxic materials, commanding additional safety responsibilities on top of plant reliability and productivity requirements.