Protecting Operational Technology from Cyber Attacks

Clay Kobernick, supplier relations manager at Anixter, explains what operational technology (OT) is and shares some tips on protecting your critical systems from cyber threats such as viruses, malware, botnets and denial of service attacks.

Learn more about this topic by reading our TECHbrief on cybersecurity and the impact on operational technologies.


Transcript: Protecting Operational Technology from Cyber Attacks

Hi, I’m Clay Kobernick, and I’m here to talk to you about protecting your OT systems from cyber attacks.

Everyone knows what IT is, but you may not be familiar with the term OT or operational technology. Operational technology is hardware or software that controls physical devices or processes in environments such as buildings, factories and utilities.

Examples of OT systems include: Process Control, Video Surveillance, Access Control, Voice, Audio Visual, HVAC, Intelligent Lighting, and Smart Grid systems.

In the past these systems were never connected to the Internet. But today, more and more are using IT infrastructure for data transportation, storage and monitoring.

Facility managers and integrators must be aware that any networked system or device may be susceptible to a variety of cyber threats, from viruses and malware, to botnets and denial of service attacks. When it comes to your OT systems, you’re dealing with critical infrastructure. You cannot afford to leave these systems vulnerable.

Here are some quick tips for making your operational technology cyber secure:

  • First, make sure you’re doing the basic maintenance that you would do for any IT equipment, like deleting default user IDs and passwords, creating strong new ones, and changing them on a regular basis.
  • Keep all software, patches and firmware up to date according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Contact your device manufacturers for hardening guides for securing your connected OT devices and maintaining them throughout their lifecycle.
  • And as the line between IT and OT fades, we also recommend collaborating with your IT experts on a cyber security strategy. Familiarize them with your OT systems so that together you can plan how to manage appropriate maintenance, such as software and firmware upgrades and patches, while minimizing downtime and disruptions to your critical systems.

For more information, please talk to your Anixter representative. Thank you.


TECHbrief: Cybersecurity and the Impact on Operational Technologies