Following a surge in cyberattacks, the National Security Agency (NSA) is urging the Department of Defense as well as the American defense industry to reassess the connection of their operational technologies (OT) to IT networks and the web. "A significant shift in how operational technologies (OT) are viewed, evaluated, and secured within the U.S. is needed to prevent malicious cyber actors (MCA) from executing successful, and potentially damaging, cyber effects," an official document the agency released over the weekend said.
Government technology website Nextgov explains that while the OT used by the US defense network predates the internet, over the years it was connected to IT devices in order to benefit from capabilities in the fields of data processing, data management, monitoring of systems and more. But the NSA warns that, while these changes were taking place and a great deal of technological progress was made, the various entities did not devote sufficient attention to cybersecurity threats.
"While there are very real needs for connectivity and automating processes, operational technologies and control systems are inherently at risk when connected to enterprise IT systems," the document said. "Seriously consider the risk, benefits, and cost before connecting (or continuing to connect) enterprise IT and OT networks."