We are now going to have an explosion of IoT devices and connected OT as 5G comes into India. So let there be no doubt that real estate managers will have no choice but to reboot their cyber security strategies in the face of this growing risk
Cyberattacks target emerging technologies such as digital twins and artificial intelligence, and they pose not only espionage threats but also the threat of controlling your systems, said Maj Gen (Dr) Pawan Anand, AVSM (Retd), Director, Mentor/Advisory Roles, Distinguished Fellow, the Ex Secretary General of Highway Operators Association, while addressing the BW Facility Management Conference and Excellence Awards 2023.
He further conveyed that AI algorithms are vulnerable and can suffer from data poisoning, through which data inputs can be maliciously twisted around, leading to false AI inputs being received by you.
Surveys carried out by Hannibal say that 70 per cent of managers are concerned about an adequate level of operational cyber security to protect their facilities. 27 per cent of facility managers in the surveyed geography experienced a cyber security attack in the 12 months in 2022. A third of them considered OT cyber security one of the most challenging aspects of their job. These surveys were conducted among more than 1500 facility managers in Germany and China. Despite those concerns, only 40 per cent of respondents had a cyber security solution in place. Moreover, only one-third of them had made investments in cyber security protection over the past year.
The Major, expressing his apprehension, stated, “For the past few decades, facility managers have, to some extent, overlooked cyber security, while cyber security is rising in importance. Imagine what it would do for healthcare facilities and corporate data centres, as it will not just pose a financial setback, it will be a social crisis. Lives would be lost.”
Delineating the cyber threats caused by essential services, Anand reflected, “Building essential services like water, electricity, and HVAC is particularly vulnerable because interoperability between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) is increasing. All of these come from multiple stakeholders, manufacturers, and vendors, as a result of which our physical and digital risks have become conjoint and form ever-increasing threats.”
The IBM report of 2021 talks about interconnected OT devices coming under cyberattack by 2,200 per cent over a period of nine months from January to September. This has implications at both the corporate and national security levels.
Giving an overview of the impending danger, Anand conveyed, “A huge amount of cyber espionage is happening all the time, and we have no idea about it. Perhaps the Hikvision camera, which is located somewhere in the South Block or in the North Block, is being hacked into and sending messages across many borders, especially to our adversaries.”
“We are now going to have an explosion of IoT devices and connected OT as 5G comes into India. So let there be no doubt that real estate managers will have no choice but to reboot
their cyber security strategies in the face of this growing risk,” commented Anand, advising the real estate managers for the time ahead.
Underscoring the requisite to mitigate this peril, Maj Gen suggested that all facility managers do not need to understand cyber security in its full complexity, but we must educate ourselves about the threats and build a secure culture in our organisation. “A firm should embed cyber security into their operations and set clear organisational responsibilities with a risk-based approach, implementing a clear defensive strategy,” Anand explained.
So, we are all aware that the IIT department is very conscious of the cyber security attacks, but how IT and OT come together is what needs to be resolved, the Maj Gen concluded with these remarks.