A research from technology firm Honeywell revealed that the severity of USB threats to operational technology (OT) systems doubled over a 12-month period, with the number of threats capable of disrupting OT systems rose from 26% to 59%.
The research, “Honeywell Industrial USB Threat Report,” stated that the total number of threats posed by USB removable media to industrial process control networks remains high, with 45% of locations detecting at least one inbound threat. The number of threats specifically targeting OT systems increased from 16% to 28%.
The research also highlighted that 1 in 5 of all threats was designed to leverage USB removable media as an attack vector, and more than 50% of threats were intended to act as open backdoors, establish persistent remote access, or download additional malicious payloads.
Eric Knapp, Director of Cybersecurity Research and Engineering Fellow at Honeywell, said, “USB-borne malware continues to be a major risk for industrial operators. What is surprising is that we are seeing a much higher density of significant threats that are more targeted and more dangerous. This isn’t a case of accidental exposure to viruses through USB – it’s a trend of using removable media as part of more deliberate and coordinated attacks.”
Cyberattacks via USB Drives