Nine out of Ten Critical Infrastructure Security Professionals Say Their Environments Have Been Damaged by a Cyber Attack in the Last Two Years

Report by Ponemon Institute for Tenable finds 62% of respondents said their organizations have suffered multiple attacks


Tenable the Cyber Exposure company, today released the ‘Cybersecurity in Operational Technology: 7 Insights You Need to Know’ report, an independent study by the Ponemon Institute. The study identifies the true extent of cyberattacks experienced by critical infrastructure operators – professionals in industries using industrial control systems (ICS) and operational technology (OT). It found that 90% of respondents stated their environments had been damaged by at least one cyberattack over the past two years, with 62% experiencing two or more attacks.

Key highlights from the study include:

  • Insufficient visibility into the attack surface: 80% of respondents cited lack of visibility into the attack surface, knowing what systems are part of their IT environments,  as the number one issue in their inability to prevent business-impacting cyberattacks.
  • Inadequate Staffing and Manual Processes Limit Vulnerability Management: Lack of personnel and a reliance on manual processes were cited by 61% and 55% of respondents respectively as major obstacles in their ability to assess and remediate vulnerabilities.
  • C-Suite Buy-In Is Key: 70% of respondents view increasing communication with executives and board members as one of their governance priorities for 2019.

The convergence of IT and OT is a reality in today’s digital era. But this convergence has connected once-isolated OT systems to a variety of attack paths. This Ponemon study, based entirely on the self-reported experiences and observations of ICS and OT experts themselves, confirms that the threats to critical infrastructure are real, severe and ongoing.

OT professionals have spoken – the people who manage critical systems such as manufacturing plants and transportation almost unanimously state that they are fighting-off cyberattacks on a regular basis,” said Eitan Goldstein, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, Tenable. “Organizations need visibility into their converged IT/OT environments to not only identify where vulnerabilities exist but also prioritize which to remediate first. The converged IT/OT cyber problem is one that cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure teams must face together.”

For more information, read the full Cybersecurity in Operational Technology: 7 Insights You Need to Know report.

Notes to Editors:

  • The original study was conducted by Ponemon Institute – Measuring & Managing the Cyber Risks to Business Operations
  • This report is based on its analysis of a subset of 701 respondents from organizations that fall in to the Critical Infrastructure sector — defined as organizations dependent upon industrial control systems (ICSs) and other operational technology:
  • Energy & utilities; health & pharma; industrial & manufacturing; and transportation.
  • All respondents are involved in their organizations’ evaluation and/or management of investments in IT and/or OT cybersecurity solutions.
  • An infographic to support this release is available on request.