Ever since Stuxnet was discovered almost a decade ago, ‘operational technology’, the use of computers to monitor or alter physical processes, has been part of the cybersecurity realm. Indeed, several threats have been discovered that targeted and, in some cases, damaged physical systems such as factories or the power grid.
An attacker targeting OT needs to perform reconnaissance on the targeted system and learn how it is connected to the IT network. This often involves old-fashioned or digital espionage, but a lot of such information is actually available out there in the open.
This is the subject of a VB2019 paper by FireEye researcher Daniel Kapellmann Zafra, who explained how open source intelligence (OSINT) can be used to learn crucial details of the inner workings of many a system. An important lesson from Daniel’s paper and talk is that ‘security by obscurity’ is dead and that organisations shouldn’t rely on an attacker not knowing how their system works.