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Trends are only interesting when you engage over a long period of time. For example, what is the quarter by quarter difference in widget production?  The first step is to put a stake in the sand and start reading trend reports. Then you have to be consistent and keep doing it. For many readers, consider this your first step by reading this blog.

In order for organizations to respond more quickly to the evolving marketplace, digital transformation efforts need to be extended into every corner of the distributed network. To increase efficiencies in places like manufacturing floors, energy production and delivery, or interconnected transportation systems, operational technology (OT) environments are being connected to the outside world for the first time.

This trend promises great benefits for organizations, enabling things like remote monitoring and real-time response to market changes. But adding things like Windows-based Open Platform Communications (OPC) or integrating IT-enabled devices also exposes OT systems to threats they may not be prepared to defend themselves against. The “air gap” that protected OT systems from hackers and malware no longer exists at many organizations, and as a result, adversaries are increasingly targeting those OT systems to steal trade secrets, disrupt operations, or even commit acts of cyber terrorism against critical infrastructure.

2019 Operational Technology Security Trends Report

To better understand the state of security in OT systems, Fortinet recently published a research report that examines security trends for OT networks. The Fortinet 2019 Operational Technology Security Trends Report analyzed data gathered from millions of Fortinet devices to discern the state of cybersecurity for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and other industrial control systems (ICS). Our analysis found many attacks on OT systems that seem to target older devices running unpatched software, indicating that OT networks are increasingly being targeted by IT-based legacy attacks that are no longer effective against IT networks. However,the industry as a whole, is also tracking a disturbing rise in purpose-built OT attacks designed to target SCADA and ICS systems.

The most surprising feature of our report is that the majority of these attacks tend to

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