cyber threat, cyber security, hacking, cyber security
A third of ICS computers in the Middle East running Kaspersky solutions had 'malicious objects' headed their way. Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: ‘Industrial Control System’ computers’ used by mission-critical manufacturing sectors in the Middle East are among the most targeted in cyberattacks during the first six months of 2022.

Not surprisingly, ICS computers in the region’s oil and gas sector faced the brunt of the attacks (47 per cent of them got attacked). Attacks on building automation systems were in the second place, at 45 per cent, while the energy sector was also in the Top 3 environments that got attacked (with 41per cent), according to Kaspersky.

ICS computers perform multiple OT functions – on the workstations of engineers and operators to supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) servers and Human Machine Interface (HMI). “Cyberattacks on industrial computers are considered to be extremely dangerous as they may cause material losses and production downtime for the controlled production line and even the facility as the whole,” the cybersecurity software firm said.

“Sophisticated attacks have increased the demand for better visibility of the cyber-risks that impact industrial control systems,” said Emad Haffar, Head of Technical Experts at Kaspersky. “ The integration of IT and OT systems has highlighted the need for a comprehensive - yet purposely built - cybersecurity program.

“Digital transformation programs require a new approach to ensure the secure deployment and operation of a variety of new, potentially unsafe devices within plant boundaries. Given this new reality, the Industrial Cybersecurity Maturity Modeling approach might be used to define clear industrial cybersecurity targets and to measure how these targets are met.”

In the first-half of 2022, in the Middle East, malicious objects were blocked on every third (36 per cent) ICS computer that was protected by Kaspersky solutions, according to the ICS threat landscape report by Kaspersky ICS CERT. Phishing pages were blocked on 15 per cent of such computers, and spyware on 11 per cent of computers.