Oct 4, 2019

A third of industrial plants have no response plan for cyberattacks

An employee works on a Volkswagen e-Golf automobile in Dresden in 2018. Photo: Jens Schlueter/Getty Image

35% of global industrial plants have no response plan in case of cyberattacks, according to a survey conducted by Siemens and the Ponemon Institute.

Why it matters: The consensus among cybersecurity experts is to treat breaches as inevitable and plan ahead for resiliency. That can be particularly important in industrial systems, where physical safety and plant operations can hinge on the uptime of single systems.

The report sampled 1,726 employees of industrial companies scattered around the globe.

By the numbers: Only 42% of respondents rated their readiness for cyber attacks as "high."

  • While that number might be off since people aren't always the best judges of their own work, Siemens head of industrial cybersecurity Leo Simonovich told Axios that a low number actually speaks well of a community waking up to its vulnerability.
  • "We’ve seen a real awareness of the problem," he said. "The first step is identifying the threat."

From the survey, and confirmed by most experts' on-the-ground experience, Simonovich said there were three key problems that appear to plague industrial cybersecurity.

  • Experts aren't in charge. At the majority of plants, it's plant managers or industrial engineers, rather than cybersecurity experts, who run cybersecurity.
  • Low visibility. Unlike with traditional business networks, industrial networks often lack the tools to see what's going on in a network, which is critical in catching hackers. That, too, is getting better.
  • Staffing. This, said Simonovich, goes beyond the well-publicized global shortage of cybersecurity talent. Just as plant managers don't know the ins and outs of cybersecurity, cybersecurity talent often does not understand industrial machines that can frequently shut down when subjected to traditional cybersecurity processes.
  • "There's a lack of people who understand industrial controls, networking, security, and heavy machinery," he said. "One person needs at least 2-3 out of the four. "

Go deeper

Trump threatens to "assume control" of Minneapolis over unrest

Flames from a nearby fire illuminate protesters standing on a barricade in front of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis on Thursday. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump threatened via Twitter early Friday to send the national guard to Minneapolis following three days of massive demonstrations and unrest in the city over George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week.

Details: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right," Trump tweeted after a police station was torched by some protesters. "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters cheer as the Third Police Precinct burns behind them on in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Cheering protesters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday night in the third night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city, per AP.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week, as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.

Updated 6 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand has a single novel coronavirus case after reporting a week of no new infections, the Ministry of Health confirmed on Friday local time.

By the numbers: Nearly 6 million people have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 2.3 million have recovered from the virus. Over 357,000 people have died globally. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world with over 1.6 million.