Cyberattacks against industrial targets


Cyberattacks designed to cause damage have doubled in the past six months and 50 percent of organizations affected are in the manufacturing sector, researchers say. 

On Monday, IBM’s X-Force IRIS incident response team published new research based on recent cyberattacks they have been called in to assist with, and the main trend the group is witnessing is the rise of destructive malware. 

These forms of malicious code, such as Industroyer, NotPetya, or Stuxnet, are designed to cause damage rather than purely for covert surveillance or data theft. Functions may include locking systems, crashing PCs, rendering services as inoperable, and the deletion of files. 


“Historically, destructive malware such as Stuxnet, Shamoon, and Dark Seoul was primarily used by nation-state actors,” the researchers say. “However, especially since late 2018, cybercriminals have been incorporating wiper elements into their attacks, such as with new strains of ransomware like LockerGoga and MegaCortex.”

IBM says that during the first half of 2019 the use of such malware has doubled in comparison to the second half of 2018,  

Manufacturing entities appear to be a constant target of these attacks, of which 50 percent of cases recorded relate to industrial companies. Organizations in oil, gas, and education are also more at risk of being subject to wipers and destructive attacks.