The IoT can help companies in the extraction industry reap additional dividends, but it introduces a new set of internet-ready operators—which, in turn, increases the number of cyberattack vectors. According to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, attacks in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction utilities sector are mostly motivated by financial gain or espionage. If cybercriminals steal your intellectual property, extraction data or other intelligence, they could sell it to a competitor—and give them a competitive advantage.
The mining industry's cybersecurity challenges can be especially complicated. Their assets are often rigidly kept in separate silos: information technology (IT), or the computing and storage side of things; and operational technology (OT), the industrial control systems that do the work. Additionally, industrial control systems are often made up of legacy equipment, with only specialized engineers qualified to operate them.
Security might be last on the list of priorities. Mines are often decentralized; some are portioned off to third-party contractors, each with its own approach to connectivity and data security. While 67% of respondents in a 2020 Inmarsat mining industry survey had implemented at least one IoT-based project, only 34% said that they regularly fortified their defenses by patching their networks2—and unpatched vulnerabilities are eminently exploitable.
Robust IoT risk management solutions can address these issues, and a comprehensive approach, accompanied by a security-first culture, can reboot the discussion about IoT security. Unifying IT and OT monitoring under a single security office can provide centralized oversight. Security credentialing platforms and similar solutions can secure devices and apps, encrypt data and authenticate devices.
The IoT can be a godsend to the mining and extraction industry, and the increase in intelligent endpoints doesn't have to keep executives and site managers up at night. Robust cybersecurity solutions can promote safe and efficient use of the IoT.
Learn how Verizon IoT Security Credentialing can secure your smart devices.