A survey found that more than two-thirds of industrial organizations don’t report cybersecurity incidents to regulators.

In its “The State of Industrial Cybersecurity 2019” survey, Kaspersky Lab revealed that 67 percent of industrial organizations fail to report cybersecurity incidents to regulators. Kaspersky found that entities didn’t report on these events partly in an effort to avoid the consequences of doing so. More than half (52 percent) of industrial organizations said that security incidents constitute a violation of regulatory requirements, meaning these entities would likely need to pay a penalty for their noncompliance. Even more than that (63 percent) identified the loss of customer confidence following a security incident as one of their major business concerns.

That being said, survey participants said that complying with regulations is still important. Fifty-five percent of respondents said that regulatory compliance demands constituted their top driver in security budget investment strategies. Only 21 percent of industrial organizations disclosed that they don’t comply with mandatory industry regulations.

A Precarious ICS Threat Environment

Kaspersky’s survey follows on the heels of other reports that explored the growing threats facing industrial organizations. Back in March 2019, Kaspersky revealed that digital attacks had targeted approximately half of industrial control system (ICS) networks. Some of those campaigns consisted of destructive attacks; these types of incidents grew by 200 percent between the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019, noted IBM X-Force.

Even so, Siemens found in its own study that less than half (42 percent) of industrial organizations rate their digital readiness as high, while just 31 percent said they could respond to a breach with high confidence. In the event of a breach, attackers could therefore wreak havoc on many industrial organizations’ systems, disrupt their functionality and, in the process, potentially threaten ordinary people’s safety.

Defending Against Industrial Cybersecurity Incidents

Industrial organizations can improve defenses against cybersecurity incidents by using machine learning to track abnormal behavior across their industrial internet of things (IIoT) devices. Security teams should also create a robust testing program to harden ICS systems against potential digital attacks.

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