Symantec Vows To Secure Critical Infrastructure With Neural Network

Attacks on critical infrastructure aren’t commonplace yet, but when it happens the impact will be far-reaching and devastating. Aiming to prevent that from occurring to the critical infrastructure of industries across the globe, Symantec announced what it says is the first neural network and scanning platform for protecting critical infrastructure.

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With energy providers to manufacturers facing more risks from hackers and state-sponsored actors, Symantec is aiming to provide enhanced protection to keep the attackers at bay. Named the Industrial Control System Protection (ICSP) Neural, Symantec said it helps organizations protect critical infrastructure by preventing cyber-attacks on operational technology (OT) which is the mission-critical systems found in the energy oil and gas, manufacturing, and transportation industries. Many are operating with legacy systems that are often outdated and nearly impossible to secure with traditional endpoint security. Companies have typically relied on unscanned USB devices to update these systems, Symantec said in a press release announcing the neural network, increasing the potential for malware infection and targeted attacks.

“USB devices are given away at events, shared between co-workers, and reused again and again for business and personal use, introducing the risk of accidental or malicious infection. The impact of connecting an infected device to a critical system can be devastating,” said Patrick Gardner, senior vice president, advanced threat protection and email security at Symantec. “Behind the scenes, ICSP Neural will retrofit existing infrastructure with a central nervous system to provide protection for critical infrastructure. On the front end, a rugged aluminum design embodies a simple, intuitive user experience that clearly highlights potential threats.”

Symantec ICSP Neural relies on artificial intelligence to detect and protect against malware residing on USB devices entering the network. ICSP Neural stations scan, detect USB-borne malware and sanitize the devices. According to Symantec based on existing deployments of the stations, 50 percent of scanned USB devices are infected with malware. The neural engine uses Symantec’s threat intelligence network to detect adverse machine learning attempts and can spark self-learning to prevent against unkind attacks. What’s more, the cybersecurity company said the neural engine enables high-intensity detection with near-zero false positives.

According to Symantec while the threat of cyber warfare is real and the consequences almost unimaginable many industrials control systems that power critical infrastructure are running old windows system that makes them vulnerable to attacks. Symantec pointed to the Stuxnet work which used USB malware to access and change centrifuges in nuclear plants in Iran, hurting a key part of its nuclear program.