11 OT Cybersecurity Tips for Preventing Malware Infiltration in the Food and Water Supply Industries

The majority of businesses such as restaurants and water treatment plants rely on the internet to check their finances. They also rely on it to order and keep inventory and run marketing and PR efforts. 

They also use the internet to connect with consumers, participate in social media, and carry out other crucial operations. This is despite the presence of malware and computer hackers. OT cybersecurity provides ways to safeguard your devices and sensitive data.

What is OT Cybersecurity? 

The demand for OT cybersecurity is increasing quickly. This is because technology develops and converges with networked technology.

OT is a term used to describe hardware and software that directly monitors physical objects within an organization.

To interact with proprietary systems, OT security uses specialized protocols and software. This software helps to automate, monitor, and oversee the operations of industrial machinery. 

11 OT Cybersecurity Recommendations To Avoid Malware Infiltration in the Food and Water Supply Sectors

The following tips can help secure the computer systems used in the restaurant and water treatment businesses. This can also be adopted by any other business.

  1. Use a Zero-Trust Strategy

Assume that everyone using your network, as well as every hardware and software, is insecure. Access to all network resources should be strictly controlled. Networks should require ongoing identity verification. Only those who need the resources to do their jobs should be given access. 

An OT security guide is often used when implementing a zero-trust strategy. An OT security guide is also known as a cybersecurity guide. The OT security guide contains the OT threats and vulnerabilities. An online guide for OT cybersecurity can also contain your zero trust strategy and least privileges guide. This helps ensure your most important assets are safeguarded. Also, potential data breaches are reduced, and the crown jewels of your business are kept safe from hackers.

  1. Keep the Fundamentals in Mind

Many malware attacks happen because the doors were left wide open rather than because hackers were able to pick the locks.

In other words, even the simplest security measures can deter attackers to a significant extent. Change each device’s default login information, and schedule regular updates. Encourage your staff to adopt secure passwords. Make multi-factor authentication mandatory (MFA). Encrypt both your data in transit and at rest. Update your software and firmware as necessary.

Have regular training sessions on the best cybersecurity policies and regulations. Also, keep your staff up to date on the most recent cyber threats and vulnerabilities. You will be better equipped with the more education you offer.

  1. Make Sure There Is Adequate Physical Security

Not all essential infrastructure components are housed in a safe data center. There are remote locations and field offices with a network connection to vital infrastructure.

The physical security components and regulations that apply to a hardened and secured data center should also apply to these sites.

Utilize biometrics and badges to control and monitor visitors’ physical access to facilities. Limit access for visitors and guests, and use temporary credentials for visitation logging. Continually watch a video, staff the front desk, and security. Also, secure physical devices, and implement employee awareness training.

  1. Use a Firewall

Programs known as firewalls are used to protect your data from the outside world and are built into both Windows and macOS. A security framework must include the use of firewalls. Firewalls guard the network of your business against unauthorized access and alert you to any infringement attempts.

Activate the firewall before accessing the internet. Depending on your broadband router, you may also buy a hardware firewall from businesses like Cisco, Sophos, or Fortinet. 

  1. Establish Security Standards

Create a clear security policy framework utilizing a standard like the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Use security models to determine where the organization stands on the cybersecurity spectrum. Use level 1, which indicates few to no security regulations, and level 5, which indicates a fully developed and automated strategy.

The majority of businesses, particularly those in the food processing sector, are situated between 2.5 and 3. Set cybersecurity objectives for your facility based on the findings of the maturity model evaluation.

  1. By Using Segmentation and Air-Gapped Backups, You Can Reduce Malware Infiltration

In the event of an attack, you should have safeguards in place to prevent the spread of ransomware. This can be accomplished by air-gapping your backups and segmenting your network.

This helps to maintain your backups even if ransomware starts spreading throughout your network. Segmentation isolates certain workloads within your network.

  1. Install Antivirus Software

Malware and computer viruses are pervasive. Computers are protected from malicious malware and unauthorized code by antivirus products. Viruses can cause obvious consequences, such as slowing down your computer. It can also delete important information, or it can be less obvious.

Antivirus software is essential to protecting your computer since it detects threats in real-time and protects your data. Some cutting-edge antivirus solutions offer automatic updates. This helps to further safeguard your computer against the fresh threats that surface daily.

  1. Create and Put Into Action a Security Awareness Program

Since email accounts most of all data breaches, every employee should be taught to spot security threats. One click, even an unintentional one, has the potential to start a company-wide ransomware problem that could cost millions of dollars.

Employees need to exercise caution when opening any questionable emails or attachments. Malware detection and antivirus software should be installed on all devices.

  1. Examine Logs for Doubtful Activity

Businesses should regularly review security logs to discover anomalous or suspicious activities. This can include logins or program executions that happen outside of normal business hours. These methods can help firms determine the primary cause of a breach and how to prevent it in the future, in addition to helping to spot illicit conduct.

  1. Maintain Up-to-Date and Patched Systems

Patches find and fix software and application flaws that could render them vulnerable to online attacks. All OT systems and apps should be kept up to date with the most recent security patches. This stops hackers and cybercriminals from breaking into systems through existing vulnerabilities,

Patching and updates can improve stability. It can also eliminate hacker access points and address defects. It also introduces new features or fixes existing ones.

  1. Backup Computer Systems

In case hackers are successful in breaking into your system and destroying it, having a backup of your data is crucial. Always ensure that, in the event of a data loss or disaster, you can recover as rapidly as possible. 

Start using the Windows and macOS backup applications (File History) (Time Machine). When an external backup hard disk has enough space, these tools can also be used efficiently.

Conclusion

It takes a lot of work to manage and fight cybercrime, and it can take businesses days to find a breach. The reason is that even after breaking into networks, cybercriminals frequently remain undetected. Therefore, a business such as restaurants and water plants needs to protect themselves from malware infiltration.