Malware designed to target Industrial Control Systems (ICS) like oil refineries, power grids, water processing plants and factories has been discovered by Dragos, a cyber security firm – triggering warnings from the US Government for critical infrastructure owners worldwide to take note.
It comes at a time where critical infrastructure is already experiencing increased malicious cyber activity as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict prompting a joint cyber security advisory from the cyber security authorities of Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada and United Kingdom.
What is a Pipedream?
Pipedream joins other ICS Specific malwares such as Stuxnet, Havex, BlackEnergy 2, CrashOverride/Industroyer, Trisis/Triton and Industroyer 2.
Pipedream has the ability to manipulate Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) along with industrial software like Schneider Electric and Omron. Pipedream can additionally attack industrial technologies like Modbus and CODESYS and Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture. One of the reasons why Pipedream is difficult to detect, is that it takes advantage of native functionality and with the ability to spread from one controller to another, Pipedream can cause significant damage if the attacker chooses to do so.
Currently it is believed that Pipedream is targeted to the Energy and Gas sector, however it’s not to say that it can’t be adapted to target additional industries. According to Dragos, “Tools in Pipedream can scan for new devices, brute force passwords, sever connections, and then crash the target device. To accomplish these goals, Pipedream uses several different protocols, including Omron’s proprietary FINS, Modbus, and Schneider Electric’s implementation of CODESYS. Given the variety of protocols that Pipedream abuses, CHERNOVITE possesses a breadth of ICS knowledge beyond any of Dragos’s previously discovered activity groups.”
How can companies respond?
Companies need to understand their levels of vulnerabilities that exist in their Operational Technology (OT) environment and how to better secure critical infrastructure. As targeted OT environment attacks increase, with potential to cause real world damage, a robust cyber security programme is required.
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How can Marsh help
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