With the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, a German authority declared the cyber disaster for the first time. Hacker attacks on the economy, administration and the healthcare system continue to increase – despite the general crisis. This can have serious consequences in production and supply chains, which can endanger human life as well as financial ones.
“Production facilities had to be shut down for the time being because of the extortion,” says Steffen Zimmermann, head of the Industrial Safety Competence Center at the VDMA mechanical engineering association in Frankfurt. The French pharmaceutical manufacturer Pierre Fabre was affected: One attack messed up all of the closely-timed processes.
“Hacker attacks are becoming more sophisticated as the frequency increases. Not only the employees’ PCs are vulnerable, but also everything else that is connected to the IT network – including machines and systems that are controlled via IT, routers and much more, ”says Andreas Schlechter, managing director of the Cologne-based system house Telonic .
Ransomware stops companies for months
The subject of ransomware is currently particularly sensitive – malware that encrypts all data and only enables decryption for a ransom. As a result, production companies can easily stand still for four to six weeks.
“With all the consequences, this can take up to nine months – in the end the company will not look like it did before,” explains Steffen Zimmermann, Head of the Industrial Security Competence Center at VDMA. It is therefore all the more important to analyze the network data for special incidents and activities that deviate from the norm – an investment that not all companies want to bear.
In response, Telonic relies on the cloud and stretches a comprehensive security umbrella over companies. “Instead of individual solution modules, we see IT security as a holistic claim. A modern next-generation firewall secures all data traffic, scales without restrictions in performance and secures networks from the core to every single workstation – whether at homeor in the office, ”emphasizes Andreas Schlechter. The security fabric in the cloud connects SaaS, serverless enterprise infrastructures, mobile users and IoT in a cloud area network and provides comprehensive protection against risks. A large part of the attacks can thus be prevented or detected at an early stage.
The SNOC offers 24/7 security
Whether data theft or extortionate data encryption: Securing networks is a major challenge in the context of digitization. Telonic counters the risks with a team that works around the clock for companies from its customer base. The SNOC (Service Network Operation Center) is an external task force that immediately initiates countermeasures based on the status reports from the networks and their security mechanisms. In addition, there is a new technology that is also available to customers on request: Similar to a crash test dummy, a special computer is installed in the network and used as a “victim”. Based on the latest findings on hacker attacks, attacks are then simulated in order to be able to specifically track down gaps in security.
According to security expert Schlechter, IT security should also be considered when planning new industrial plants in the future – this is required by the demands on Industry 4.0 with networked machines and systems.