Cyber attacks on 'critical infrastructure' US firms showed 20-fold increase in last 3 yrs: Report
Washington, June 30 (ANI): Cyber attacks against American companies owning critical infrastructure have increased dramatically over the last three years, a US government report has claimed.
The report by an arm of the Department of Homeland Security claimed that companies, which operate computerized industrial control systems at the heart of America's critical infrastructure have seen a three-year surge in cyber attacks.
Emergency cyber-responders with the Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) reported a 20-fold leap in the number of incidents since the team was created in 2009.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, the number of incidents reported to ICS-CERT by the companies that own the vital equipment rose from nine in 2009 to 198 in 2011.
The equipment includes operating valves and switches in power plants, refineries, chemical plants, and nuclear generating stations.
While the attacks that ICS-CERT responded to do not appear to have directly targeted the control systems themselves, many were instead targeted attempts to steal confidential data, and they infiltrated businesses and networks connected to others that did control these vital systems.
"Sophisticated threat actors were present in 11 of the 17 incidents, including the actors utilizing spear-phishing tactics to compromise networks," the report said.
"These threat actors were responsible for data exfiltration in several cases, which seems to have been the primary motive for intrusion. No intrusions were identified directly into control system networks," it added.
According to the paper, some observers cautioned against panic over the size of the jump, saying the rate of increase is somewhat exaggerated because the government cybersquad was a new entity, meaning that reporting rose naturally over that period.
"It may take a few more years to establish a firm trend line," these experts said. (ANI)
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