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Iran’s cyberattack in April on Israel’s water infrastructure aimed at raising chlorine levels in the country’s drinking water, according to a report by the Financial Times. If successful, the attack could have left tens of thousands without water, including farmers, and, at worst, hundreds of people could have fallen seriously ill, according to the newspaper.

To what extent are critical infrastructures resistant to cyber attacks? A recent research by Greenbone Networks shows that only 36 percent of organizations operating in the energy, finance, health, telecommunications, transport and water industries achieved a high level of cyber resilience. The 370 companies surveyed are located in the world’s five largest economies: UK, US, Germany, France and Japan. 

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The researchers assessed the companies ability to manage a major cyberattack, their ability to mitigate the impact of an attack, whether they had the necessary skills to recover after an incident, as well as their best practices, policies and corporate culture.

Highly resistant companies were defined as those that are able to identify critical business processes, related assets and their vulnerabilities; they deploy cybersecurity architectures that are tailored to their business processes; they have well-established and well-communicated best practices; they are more likely to seek third-party support; they place greater importance on the ability to respond to cyber incidents and mitigate the impact on critical business processes; they are more likely to focus on procedures that lessen the impact of an attack or accelerate their ability to bounce back after an incident, and they prepare for attacks through simulation.

There were marked differences between industry sectors, with highly-regulated organizations, such as finance and telecoms, most likely to be cyber resilient (both at 46 percent). Transport providers were the least likely to be considered highly resilient (22 percent), while energy providers (32 percent), health providers (34 percent) and water utilities (36 percent) were all close to the average, according to helpnetsecurity.com.

Infrastructure providers in the US were the most likely to score highly, with 50 percent of companies considered highly resilient. In Europe, the figure was lower at 36 percent. In Japan, is was just 22 percent.

Attend i-HLS’ InnoTech Expo in Tel Aviv – Israel’s largest innovation, HLS, and cyber technologies expo – on November 18-19, 2020 at Expo Tel Aviv, Pavilion 2.

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