Number of Internet-accessible ICS components is increasing every year

The number of industrial control system (ICS) components – which run factories, transport, power plants and other facilities – left open to Internet access, is increasing every year. In Germany, for example, researchers from Positive Technologies found 13,242 IP addresses for ICS components, up from 12,542 in 2016.

Advanced industrial countries, such as the U.S., Germany, China, France, and Canada, were home to the largest numbers of Internet-accessible ICS components. Of the 175,632 Internet-accessible ICS components detected, approximately 42% were in the U.S., representing a 10% increase over the previous year (from 50,795 to 64,287). Germany was ranked second, just like last year, with 13,242 discovered.

The Positive Technologies research team also noted that more and more Internet-accessible ICS components are actually network devices, such as Lantronix and Moxa interface converters, which represented 12.86% of detected components in 2017, up from 5.06% in 2016. Although these converters are often regarded as relatively unimportant, they can be quite useful for hackers, as has been seen in a number of high-profile attacks.

Read more about the growing challenges for ICS security highlighted by Positive Technologies researchers and how these can be managed, on Help Net Security.

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