Woburn, MA — September 9, 2021 — According to Kaspersky ICS CERT, almost one in three industrial computers were subject to malicious activity in H1 2021. During this timeframe, cybercriminals intensively used various types of spyware and malicious scripts while performing their attacks. These types of threats are growing for the second half of the year and pose a big challenge to industrial control systems (ICS).

Attacks against industrial organizations are particularly dangerous as cybercriminals can steal data, money and disrupt the established system of production. An increase in the diversity of threats to such networks indicates the growth of the attackers’ interest in them, and consequently an increase in the need to reliably protect them.

According to the “Threat Landscape for Industrial Automation Systems Report,” Kaspersky security solutions blocked over 20,000 malware variants during the first six months of 2021. To find out more about how the ICS threat landscape changed during the reporting period, Kaspersky researchers analyzed various types of malware used during cyberattacks against industrial systems. They subsequently found that the percentage of spyware and malicious scripts used against ICS has grown continuously over the past half a year.

In fact, spyware (Trojan-Spy malware, backdoors and keyloggers), which is mostly used to steal money, are up by .4 percentage points. At the same time, malicious scripts grew by .7 percentage points. Threat actors use such scripts on various websites hosting pirated content to redirect users to sites which distribute spyware or malware designed to mine cryptocurrency without the user’s knowledge.

Percentage of ICS computers on which malicious objects were blocked in H2 2019-H1 2021

“Industrial organizations always attract attention from both cybercriminals and politically-motivated threat actors,” comments Evgeny Goncharov, security expert at Kaspersky. “Reflecting on the previous half year, we have seen among other findings, growth in the number of cyberespionage and malicious credential stealing campaigns. Their success has most likely been the main factor raising the ransomware threat to such a high degree, and I see no reason why some of the APT groups won’t benefit from these credential stealing campaigns as well.”

To keep your ICS computers protected from various threats, Kaspersky experts recommend:

  • Using security solutions for OT endpoints and networks, such as Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity to ensure comprehensive protection for all industry critical systems.
  • Regularly updating operating systems and application software that are part of the enterprise’s industrial network. Apply security fixes and patches to ICS network equipment as soon as they are available.
  • Undertaking dedicated ICS security training for IT security teams and OT engineers, which is crucial to improve responses to new and advanced malicious techniques.
  • Conducting regular security audits of OT networks to identify and eliminate security issues.
  • Providing the security team responsible for protecting industrial control systems with up-to-date threat intelligence. ICS Threat Intelligence Reporting service provides insights into current threats and attack vectors, as well as the most vulnerable elements in OT and industrial control systems and how to mitigate them.
  •  Using ICS network traffic monitoring, analysis and detection solutions for better protection from attacks potentially threatening technological processes and main enterprise assets.

Read more about the ICS threat landscape in H1 2021 on the Kaspersky ICS CERT website.

About Kaspersky ICS CERT

Kaspersky Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (Kaspersky ICS CERT) is a global project launched by Kaspersky in 2016 to coordinate the efforts of automation system vendors, industrial facility owners and operators, and IT security researchers to protect industrial enterprises from cyberattacks. Kaspersky ICS CERT devotes its efforts primarily to identifying potential and existing threats that target industrial automation systems and the Industrial Internet of Things. Kaspersky ICS CERT is an active member and partner of leading international organizations that develop recommendations on protecting industrial enterprises from cyberthreats. ics-cert.kaspersky.com

About Kaspersky

Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at usa.kaspersky.com.

Media Contact:

Cassandra Faro




Kaspersky finds spyware and malicious scripts on the rise in H1 2021 for industrial control systems

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