OT Pentesting: How to Identify and Manage Vulnerabilities in Industrial Systems

November 20, 2023
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Strengthening Industrial Cyber Security: OT Pentesting

Strengthening Industrial Cyber Security

Operational technology (OT) is a broad term that refers to the systems and devices that control physical processes in industrial and manufacturing environments. These systems include complex automated systems such as robotics and SCADA systems. Unlike traditional IT systems, OT systems have unique challenges and risks, given their direct impact on the physical world. *Digital trust center – Min.van EZK” In the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity, where the boundaries of technology are constantly being pushed, the security of operational technology (OT) is more essential than ever. In this blog, we highlight the crucial importance of OT pentesting, a specialized domain that focuses on the protection of systems ranging from bridges and sluice gate motors to manufacturing systems and automated storage systems.

What is OT Pentesting?

OT pentesting is a simulated attack on an OT system to identify and exploit vulnerabilities. The goal of OT pentesting is to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers.

Why is OT Pentesting Important?

Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and a single security vulnerability in an OT system can have catastrophic consequences, both digitally and physically. OT pentesting can help organizations identify and mitigate vulnerabilities before they are exploited, thereby preserving the integrity of critical systems.

Types of Vulnerabilities

OT systems are vulnerable to a wide range of security issues. Some of the most common vulnerabilities include:

  • Insecure configurations: Many OT systems are shipped with insecure configurations. This can include insecure passwords, open ports, or insufficient network security.
  • Insecure software: OT software is often outdated and contains known vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can be exploited by cybercriminals to gain access to the system.
  • Physical vulnerabilities: OT systems are often physically accessible to unauthorized persons. This can give cybercriminals the opportunity to hack or sabotage the system.

Methods for Exploiting Vulnerabilities

To exploit vulnerabilities in OT systems, pentesters use a variety of methods. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Social engineering: Cybercriminals can use social engineering to manipulate employees into sharing sensitive information or installing malware.
  • Phishing: Cybercriminals can use phishing emails to trick employees into clicking on links or opening attachments that contain malware.
  • Zero-day attacks: Zero-day attacks exploit vulnerabilities in software that are not yet known to the developer. These attacks can be very difficult to defend against.
  • Physical access: Cybercriminals can gain physical access to an OT system to hack or sabotage the system.

Our Approach

Our approach to OT pentesting is thorough and methodical. We follow the Penetration Testing Execution Standard (PTES) as a minimum standard. This standard provides a comprehensive framework that helps us to execute each phase of the pentest – from gathering information to exploiting vulnerabilities and reporting – with precision. But more importantly, the real quality lies in the manual testing and "attacking" of the environment. Our teams of certified pentesters have a wealth of experience, and our experience spans a wide range of OT systems, allowing us to provide customized solutions that are tailored to the specific needs and risks of each customer.

Case Studies and Experience

In our years of experience, we have conducted a variety of projects, from testing automated storage systems to strengthening the cyber security of industrial manufacturing units. These case studies illustrate how our expertise in OT pentesting has led to significant improvements in the security and business continuity of our customers.

Contact Us

We invite you to contact us to learn more about our OT pentesting services.

Contact: +31 (0)70-800 2025

Or read more on: DeepBlue Security & Intelligence