Cybersecurity is a key topic in every industry, but the potential consequences of a successful malicious attack could be devastating for the energy sector as the livelihood of many people depends on the ability of power plants to generate power and on the grid to enable distribution activities. This means it’s not sufficient to simply run some automated scans and hope to identify any weaknesses or vulnerabilities in your provision.
Penetration testing is a solution that has been universally adopted as a way of interrogating systems more robustly, to provide enhanced protection. Find out more about how cybersecurity penetration testing works, and why it’s so essential.
What is a Cybersecurity Penetration Test?
Running automated vulnerability scans is an essential part of business, but in the age of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks, they’re not sufficient to identify where you might be vulnerable in a live environment.
A cybersecurity penetration test is a way of probing your systems in a very different way, to find flaws from different combinations of applications that may not be evident from a single scan. Specialists who carry out penetration testing are sometimes called “ethical hackers” and this is a good description of what they do. Mimicking the actions of malicious hackers, a penetration test attempts to find ways to break your system by being creative and utilising the latest technology - in the same way that a hacker would.
Importance of a Cybersecurity Penetration Test
The focus of hackers has switched from simple IT attacks to penetrating operation technologies. This means that not only will your computer be attacked, but damage done to the critical infrastructures.
Power plants and the energy industry are increasingly reliant on interconnectivity, with a move to digitalisation. This represents progress and offers opportunities, but it also introduces a growing risk from cyber attacks.
There are multiple access points where vulnerabilities may lie, and you might be currently unaware of where these are. It’s important to be able to pinpoint the gaps now, rather than waiting for them to be utilised by a malicious hacker.
Different approaches can be used, testing both internal and external processes for any weak spots or opportunities for exploitation. Applications, wireless services and employee breaches are all common ways for cybercriminals to succeed.
Only by having a multi-layered solution with cyber best practices embedded will you be able to be confident about having optimal protection.
Impact of Cybersecurity on Critical Infrastructures
The impact of a cybersecurity attack should not be under-estimated, and neither should the likelihood of an attack being attempted. Hackers are often portrayed as a solo
, disgruntled individual but that’s rarely the case. Cyber attacks can be carried out by terrorists, industrial spies, and organised crime groups, and they may even be supported by governments. They represent a very credible threat which shouldn’t be dismissed.
If vulnerabilities in the system are found, the outcome will depend on how far into your network they are able to penetrate. You could suffer anything from loss of intellectual property or disruption to operations right through to shutting down the plant completely and irretrievable damage being down. All of this will have a severe impact on reputation confidence and will result in substantial economic losses.
Penetration testing can help to prevent this from happening by meticulously checking every element of your operation first.
If you want to learn more about the main activities for creating a secure environment, check our Cybersecurity Handbook
To discover an innovative solution to establish the cybersecurity perimeter by isolating OT from IT zones visit our Pedronel One website
or talk to us today about your cybersecurity needs.