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Cyberattacks Could Target UK’s infrastructure – Honeywell Comments

January 2023 by honeywell

According to the UK Government*, the UK’s critical national infrastructure (CNI) could be the target of a new series of cyber attacks. Last year James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, revealed that tech experts had been working remotely on behalf of the Government to foil these attacks as part of a £6.35 million support package. Given the rise of nation-state led attacks, there are fears that British infrastructure could be targeted with similar tactics.

Mirel Sehic from Honeywell commented that infrastructure and buildings are increasingly becoming targets of cyberattacks as industries digitise, leading to a growing need for better cybersecurity of operational technology systems:

“As cyberattacks increase in sophistication and with the Internet of Things (IoT) helping accelerate the convergence of operational technology (OT) and information technology systems (IT), OT is swiftly becoming a major area of concern for most organisations. In the past, cyberattacks have predominately focused on organisations’ IT systems. This has led to an increased maturity in dealing with IT-based threats; however, not a lot of focus has been applied to similar, if not more critical, systems in the OT infrastructure. Interestingly, compromise can occur on an IT environment leading to compromise of OT infrastructure and vice versa.

“Cyber threats are constantly evolving, so the way organisations protect against these threats needs to evolve at the same pace. Generally, there remains a lack of understanding on the importance of hardening OT infrastructure and having proper protocols in place in the case of an incident. These OT systems need to be consistently maintained, patched, and refreshed just like we would with critical IT systems to keep them functioning at full capacity and not leaving organisations vulnerable to risks.

“Over the past year there has been an increase in demand for better protection against OT cyberattacks due to the vast increase in threats, with a steady incline in vulnerabilities allowing potential hackers to gain more access to get around and through systems. Couple this with the shortage of cybersecurity professionals, and it seems these threat actors will only continue to exploit this situational weakness.

“It is important for organisations to remain vigilant and constantly improve their cybersecurity approaches by continuously managing the various threats organisations are exposed to. Cybersecurity starts with technology development and, as digitisation continues, engineers and product development teams need to take a security- and privacy-by-design approach while ensuring their overall OT infrastructure has an appropriate level of cyber-hygiene applied.”

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