In the security world, operational technology (OT) has long been “the land of the forgotten,” taking a backseat in priority to IT network security. This is no longer tolerable, as adversaries and malicious actors increasingly target OT systems in attempts to extort enterprises or simply wreak havoc through equipment damage, environmental harm or loss of life.

OT network attacks are often targeted at industrial control system (ICS) networks and supervisory control and data acquisition systems, known as SCADA. These are the systems that control critical infrastructure—dams, water supplies, utility grids and more. OT network attacks have been on the rise in recent years, with the newest research showing exploits increasing in both scale and number throughout 2018. Beyond the more catastrophic impacts, Ernst & Young has found that the cost of downtime from a major OT network attack can exceed $8 million per day.

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