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What is so great about Cybersecurity within the OT? Operational Technology contains a lot of 'old stuff', doesn't it? That's right, the OT consists of many outdated legacy systems. Nevertheless, the development of Industry 4.0 is making these legacy systems connected and smart. Industry 4.0 ensures that the OT is busy catching up with the IT environment, and even surpassing the technical acceleration of IT in some areas.
Within Industry 4.0, various (IoT) sensors are linked to the systems within a factory, which can, for example, monitor the vibrations of a pump. The moment an imbalance occurs in a pump due to its use, this becomes visible in the vibration pattern. This vibration pattern is picked up by the sensors and sent to a cloud-based back-end system where it is processed. Based on this processing, automated or not, certain instructions are sent back to the machine, which fixes the imbalance. This is great for the availability of such a system, as it reduces expensive maintenance windows. Thanks to this Industry 4.0 development, and the addition of IoT to the factory, an important vulnerability is exposed.
The machines within an OT environment have been operating for several years. In some cases, these date back to a time when cyber security was not an issue, because these factories were not connected to the Internet. These systems are "unsecure by default". Due to the application of IoT within the OT environment, you see that more and more parts of a factory are connected to the Internet. After all, the sensors will have to store their data one way or another. The challenge here is how to ensure that the sensors can share their data on the one hand, but also that the "unsecure by default" systems are properly protected against the outside world. This requires creativity and a good dose of pragmatism.
Security within the IT environment is fairly well crystallised. It is within the OT environment that you, as a cyber security expert, can make the difference.