A recent Kaspersky study on the consequences of automation and increased use of robots showed the growing level of robotization in companies but highlighted the increased number of cybersecurity risks this causes.
Today, 79% of employees believe that robots should be more widely used across different industries, however, 85% of them fear robot hacking.
Nowadays, robotics is being used to command industrial control systems, production processes and other information technology. It replaces manual labor, improving efficiency, speed, quality and performance. With this in mind, Kaspersky conducted a study to learn the opinion of employees of manufacturing companies and other large organizations around the world about the consequences of automation and increased use of robots. The goal was to gather employees’ thoughts about the security of robots and automated systems in their companies. The survey was conducted across 15 countries: USA, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Turkey.
Employees reported an increase in robotization levels in their companies over the last 2 years. Forty-one percent of employees said their organizations already use robots, and 29% of organizations plan to use them in the near future.
One of the findings in the research was that respondents believe robots can help industries increase economic benefits as well as saving people from dangerous duties.
This point of view is shared by more than half of the surveyed employees, as 52% think use of robots can accelerate and increase the efficiency of production processes and cut down costs, and 60% believe robotization can free people from hard or dangerous duties, reducing risks to life and health in the future. This, in turn, will help employees avoid routine and boring duties and retain more interesting and highly paid positions (36%).
More than one third of respondents consider that one of the key tasks that robots can successfully perform is to build a safe environment and reduce the likelihood of accidents due to human error. This point of view was shared by 36% of employees.
Another important finding was that cybersecurity risks increase because of robotization.
The majority of respondents (85%) believe that robots can get hacked, and 51% know of incidents such as these occurring in their company or other local businesses. Respondents are split in their assessment of how protected robots are: almost one half of employees (44%) believe that not enough cybersecurity measures are in place to protect the robots in different industries while 40% believe that sufficient protective measures are in place.
“Cyber-physical systems use industrial robots more often to increase production efficiency. However, new technologies like these bring new cyber risks because they are potentially vulnerable to cyberthreats. Kaspersky sees ensuring that cybersecurity remains at the forefront of robot technology adoption as its mission, helping to tackle the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities that robotization presents,” comments Andrey Strelkov, Head of Industrial Cybersecurity Product Line at Kaspersky.
“In our research, we asked respondents to judge not only how convenient and efficient robots are to use in production, but also their level of safety. It turned out that many employees believe that using robots causes risks. Robots, robotic controllers, automation systems, and supply chains are going to become the prime vector for cyberattacks in the coming years, and they need protection here and now. Before one integrates robots into production, one needs to guarantee network intrusion robustness and overall network security,” says Strelkov.
“Not all modern technologies are designed with security in mind, so only the use of defense-in-depth industrial network protection and multifunctional monitoring platforms will ensure uninterrupted operation of the company. Dedicated solutions like Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity may become an efficient assistant for protecting robotics in production,” adds Strelkov.
To keep your industrial computer systems protected from various threats, Kaspersky experts recommend:
• Conducting regular security assessments of OT systems to identify and eliminate possible cyber security issues.
• Establishing continuous vulnerability assessment and triage as a basement for effective vulnerability management process. Dedicated solutions like Kaspersky Industrial CyberSecurity may become an efficient assistant and a source of unique actionable information, not fully available in public.
• Performing timely updates for the key components of the enterprise’s OT network; applying security fixes and patches or implementing compensating measures as soon as it is technically possible is crucial for preventing a major incident that might cost millions due to the interruption of the production process.
• Using Industrial EDR solutions such as Kaspersky Industrial Cybersecurity for Nodes with EDR for timely detection of sophisticated threats, investigation, and effective remediation of incidents.
• Improving the response to new and advanced malicious techniques by building and strengthening your teams’ incident prevention, detection, and response skills. Dedicated OT security training for IT security teams and OT personnel is one of the key measures helping to achieve this.