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New Report from Nozomi Networks Labs Finds IoT Botnets and Shifting Ransomware are Raising the Stakes for Enterprises Worldwide

A new report from Nozomi Networks Labs finds cyber threats against OT and IoT infrastructure continued to grow in number and impact in the first half of 2020. OT-reliant organizations are increasingly embracing IoT devices, and COVID-19 has forced a global shift to remote work. Unfortunately, threat actors appear to be capitalizing on these trends. In the first six months of this year, they used IoT botnets and shifting ransomware tactics as their weapons of choice for targeting OT and IoT networks.

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Nozomi Networks’ “OT/IoT Security Report,” gives IT security professionals an overview of the most active OT and IoT threats seen by Nozomi Networks Labs in the first half of this year. The report found:

  • New and modified IoT botnets are among the fastest growing categories of attacks, as threat actors take advantage of the increased use of IoT devices in operational networks.
  • Ransomware attackers are demanding higher ransoms, aimed at larger and more critical organizations. Additionally, ransomware gangs are often using a two-pronged approach that combines data encryption with data theft, making it difficult for the victim to avoid paying up.
  • SNAKE/EKANS ransomware continued to strike, exhibiting OT-awareness and suggesting that non-state threat actors could target industrial control systems.
  • The COVID-19 global pandemic provided threat actors with more vectors and opportunities for exploitation. Coronavirus has also opened the door to unscrupulous attacks targeting researchers and healthcare organizations on the front lines.
  • Improper input validation and buffer overflows topped the ICS-Cert vulnerabilities reported in the first half of 2020. The number of vulnerabilities tracked by ICS-Cert is growing significantly compared to 2019.
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“The steep rise in threats targeting operational networks should be a serious concern for security professionals responsible for keeping not only IT, but OT and IoT networks safe,” said Andrea Carcano, Nozomi Networks Co-founder and CPO. “The days when threats to operational networks were few and far between and often attributed to nation-state actors are clearly behind us. As IT, OT and IoT worlds converge, threat actors of all types are setting their sights on higher value targets, leaving security organizations scrambling to keep up. It’s a daunting task, but not impossible. We know from working with thousands of industrial installations that you can monitor and mitigate these risks, whether they stem from cybercriminals, nation-states or employees.”

Nozomi Networks’ “OT/IoT Security Report” summarizes the most active OT and IoT threats and vulnerabilities seen by Nozomi Networks Labs in the first six months of this year. The report shares insights into threat tactics and techniques and provides recommendations for protecting critical networks.

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