For all industry sectors, the increase in the number of IP network connections on their IT systems, combined with increasingly sophisticated and professional hackers mean that the risk of cyber-attacks is higher than ever – with potentially astronomical financial consequences. 

industrial-security_UNEAll industry sectors are vulnerable, say the experts. According to  Hervé Guillou, chairman of the Conseil des Industries de Confiance et de Sécurité, a group of French companies in the defence and security industries, the banking sector is in the lead when it comes to IT security precautions, but the energy and utility industries (oil, gas, electricity, water), telecoms, manufacturing and transport need to step up their efforts.

yber-security: some guidelines

To increase awareness of cyber-security risks in industry,  France’s Agence Nationale de la Security des Systèmes d’Information, a division of the French defence and security ministry,

published a report on industrial IT security systems (control-command systems, field buses, sensors and actuators, production, engineering and maintenance software programmes). The report highlights the principles of IT security, which are “practically never applied”:

  • Staff awareness
  • Mapping installations and risk analysis
  • Prevention
  • Surveillance of installations and incident detection
  • Incident and alert management
  • Threat and vulnerability monitoring
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

These basic guidelines could, according to the ANSSI, “prevent 95% of risks”, but providing Management allocate the necessary “equipment and financial, organisational and human resources.

How to handle a cyber-attack?

According to Sébastien Héon of Airbus Defence and Space, organisations should plan ahead and prepare for cyber-attacks in order to make the right decisions in a crisis situation. This will mean that the situation can be “handled in a reasonable and adequate manner, and in the perimeter that’s really affected.”

Héon believes it is crucial to “implement a crisis cell combining the necessary skills: people from IT, security and operational staff to measure the impact of crisis management on the way the company runs.”

Another vital element is internal communication, says Héon, as “disruptions on the IT network affect all the end-users.”

Héon concludes that these measures can only be implemented smoothly if “there is adequate preparation for the operational management of a cyber-attack and if staff are adequately briefed on the implications of cyber-security.”

The challenges of cyber-space and cyber-security

Interviewed by ParisTech Review, Hervé Guillou, chairman of the Conseil des Industries de Confiance et de Sécurité, described cyber-space, where IP connections mean that “physical layers (cables, underwater networks, radio or satellite links), IT layers (PCs, servers, software, etc.) and information layers (data, applications) and general, industrial and embedded IT systems” are all interconnected. This forms a huge, permeable space with numerous entry points for cyber-criminals with aims ranging from stealing credit card codes to industrial sabotage and espionage or national and international terrorism. These spaces are essential for a “country’s economic resilience, its banks, its energy supplies,” points out Guillou.


Cyber-attacks: a few figures (2013)

  • 34 industrial attacks in 2010; 257 in 2013, according to the US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness team)
  • €190 billion in losses from cybercrime
  • 26 million malwares
  • 70,000 new threats a day
  • 416 days: the average time it takes to identify a sophisticated attack.