Half of industrial PCs hit by cyberattacks last year

(Image credit: Shutterstock)
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Industrial devices are being bombarded with more cyberattacks than ever before as hackers go after major targets, new research has found.

A report from Kaspersky Lab discovered that almost one in two industrial computers worldwide were subjected to some form of what it calls "malicious cyber activity" during the second half of 2018.

Vietnam, Algeria and Tunisia were found to be the countries most at risk of suffering an attack, with Ireland, Switzerland and Denmark seeing the least threats.

Attacks

Overall, 47.2 percent of devices surveyed by Kaspersky Lab experienced some form of attack during 2018, a rise from the 44 percent seen in 2017.

Kaspersky Lab says that attacks on such devices could be considered extremely dangerous, as they potentially cause material losses and production downtime in the operation of industrial facilities.

Last week, Norwegian aluminium company Hydro Norsk was struck with a major ransomware attack which shut down the company's entire operations and left it with a $25m repair bill.

“Despite the common myth, the main source of threat to industrial computers is not a targeted attack, but mass-distributed malware that gets into industrial systems by accident, over the internet, through removable media such as USB-sticks, or e-mails," said Kirill Kruglov, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab ICS CERT.

"However, the fact that the attacks are successful because of a casual attitude to cybersecurity hygiene among employees means that they can potentially be prevented by staff training and awareness – this is much easier than trying to stop determined threat actors."