Don't Believe the Hype: IIoT Technology Doesn’t Expand Attack Surface  

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology has been rapidly growing in popularity in recent years. With IIoT, manufacturers can monitor their equipment, reduce downtime, and optimize production processes. However, concerns about IIoT attacks have led some to question whether IIoT increases the attack surface and makes industrial equipment more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This article will discuss the theory and provide evidence that IIoT does not expand the attack surface nor make industrial equipment more vulnerable to attacks. 

Need Proof?  

IIoT technology has been in use in various industries for several years, and during that time, there have been no significant IIoT attacks. According to a survey conducted by IoT Security Foundation, only 13% of respondents had experienced an IIoT attack. The survey also showed that the majority of IIoT attacks were unsuccessful, with only 30% of attacks resulting in a breach. These numbers suggest that IIoT does not increase the attack surface or make industrial equipment more vulnerable to attacks. 

The reason for this is that IIoT technology is designed with security in mind. IIoT devices are built with encryption and authentication protocols that prevent unauthorized access. They also have robust security features that protect against malware and other cyber threats. Moreover, IIoT devices are designed to be isolated from the internet and other external networks, which makes them less vulnerable to attacks from the outside. 

While IIoT devices are not invulnerable to attacks, they are more secure than traditional industrial equipment. IIoT technology has reduced the attack surface by eliminating the need for many legacy systems that were not designed with security in mind. IIoT devices are also easier to manage and monitor, allowing manufacturers to detect and respond to potential threats more quickly. 

Another reason why IIoT technology is less vulnerable to attacks is that it allows for more granular control of access to industrial systems. IIoT devices can be programmed to only allow authorized personnel to access specific equipment or processes, which reduces the risk of insider attacks. Also, IIoT devices can be set up to log and track all access attempts, making it easier to identify and investigate any potential security breaches. 

 IIoT devices can be easily updated with the latest security patches and protocols, ensuring that they are always protected against the latest cyber threats. This is a significant improvement compared to traditional industrial equipment, which often requires manual updates and can be challenging to secure. 

Final Thoughts 

While it is true that IIoT devices are built with security in mind and have robust security features, we must not become complacent about the potential risks of cyber-attacks. While IIoT technology has reduced the attack surface by eliminating the need for legacy systems, there is still a need for continued vigilance to ensure that security is safeguarded. As IIoT continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly become even more secure, but we must remain aware that cyber threats are always evolving and adapting. Therefore, we should not relax our efforts to mitigate these risks and ensure the safety and security of industrial equipment. 

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