54% of utility professionals expect a cyber attack on their company’s critical infrastructure in the next 12 months, reveals survey

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10th October 2019 17:14 - Utilities

54% utility professionals expect a cyber attack on their company’s critical infrastructure in the next 12 months: A piece of research has found that 54% of utility professionals expect their company's critical infrastructure to be targeted within the next year. 

The research, titled, Caught in the Crosshairs: Are Utilities Keeping Up with the Industrial Cyber Threat, sought to gain a better picture into how well prepared utility companies are against cyber attacks, as well as their capabilities, vulnerabilities, and understanding around potential risks. 

The survey, a collaboration between Siemens and the Ponemon Institute, polled 1,726 utility professionals and found that 56% have fallen victim to a cyber attack at least once a year, resulting in shutdown or operational data loss. For some, the number of attacks was much higher, with around one in twenty polled (4%) reporting at least ten or more attacks within the last 12 months.

The survey also reveals that 30% of attacks on Operational Technology are not even detected. 

Professionals were polled from around the globe, with 64% revealing that within their company, sophisticated attacks are a top challenge. However, just 42% rated their readiness for a cyber attack as 'high'. Less than a third (31%) rated their readiness to respond to, or contain a breach as 'high' according to the findings.

When asked what makes the management of security a challenge for  their company, 61% said it was the increased number of sophisticated attacks, followed by a lack of skilled workers (56%).  More than half said that systems are 'isolated and fragmented', while 52% said the 'rapid detection of security exploits and data breaches' is challenging. More than two fifths (42%) said that there was 'no clear ownership."

Asked about their company's response plans in the event of a cyber attack, more than a third (35%) said they did not have one.

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