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Trend Micro Creates Trap for Malicious Attackers in IIoT

By Ken Briodagh
January 21, 2020

Trend Micro Incorporated, a cybersecurity solutions provider, recently announced the results of a six-month honeypot trap imitating an industrial factory. The Operational Technology (OT) honeypot attracted fraud and financially motivated exploits.

The six-month investigation reportedly revealed that unsecured industrial environments are primarily victims of common threats. The honeypot was compromised for cryptocurrency mining, targeted by two separate ransomware attacks, and used for consumer fraud.

“Too often, discussion of cyber threats to industrial control systems (ICS) has been confined to highly sophisticated, nation-state level attacks designed to sabotage key processes. While these do present a risk to Industry 4.0, our research proves that more commonplace threats are more likely,” said Greg Young, VP, cybersecurity, Trend Micro. “Owners of smaller factories and industrial plants should therefore not assume that criminals will leave them alone. A lack of basic protections can open the door to a relatively straightforward ransomware or cryptojacking attack that could have serious consequences for the bottom line.”

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To better understand the attacks targeting ICS environments, Trend Micro Research created a realistic, but fake, industrial prototyping company. The honeypot consisted of real ICS hardware and a mix of physical hosts and virtual machines to run the factory, which included several programmable logic controllers (PLCs), human machine interfaces (HMIs), separate robotic and engineering workstations and a file server.

Trend Micro urges smart factory owners to minimize the number of ports they leave open and to tighten access control policies, among other cybersecurity best practices. In addition, implementing cybersecurity solutions designed for factories, like those offered by Trend Micro, can help further mitigate the risk of attack.

To read more about the research, including the design and deployment of the honeypot itself, visit: https://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/news/internet-of-things/fake-company-real-threats-logs-from-a-smart-factory-honeypot.


Ken Briodagh is a storyteller, writer and editor with about two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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