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Mining industry vulnerable to cyber threats from insecure Industrial IoT deployments, finds Inmarsat

Inmarsat report warns of cyber threat to mining from insecure IIoT deployments

Mining businesses are at increased risk of cybersecurity meltdown from vulnerable Industrial IoT systems highlights a survey commissioned by global satellite communications giant Inmarsat.

The vast majority of companies questioned agree that they must strengthen their cyber defence capabilities, but say they lack the skills and technology to properly safeguard their Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) deployments. 

The study, which surveyed 125 businesses across the mining industry, revealed that 87% of respondents reported that their processes to combat cybersecurity threats could be stronger, and 84% said more could be done to protect against data mishandling. 

However, despite recognising the enhanced security threats of Industrial IoT, just 22% have invested in new security technologies and only 31% have partnered with security specialists for assistance, indicating that not enough is being done to secure operations. One driver for this response is a lack of relevant skills, with 70% of respondents reporting that they lacked staff with cybersecurity skills to deliver their Industrial IoT deployments. 

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Tara MacLachlan, Vice-President for Industrial IoT at Inmarsat Enterprise commented: “While Industrial IoT presents immensely exciting possibilities for businesses across the mining sector, it also increases the risk that they will face cybersecurity issues, and our research suggests that they are unprepared for these risks.

“A network is only secure as its weakest point, and with Industrial IoT increasing the potential surface area for cyberattacks, businesses must ensure that they harden every element of their IoT deployments. Without secure Industrial IoT networks, mining businesses may leave themselves open to cyberattacks designed to cripple extraction and processing machinery, ransomware or industrial espionage.  

“Truly secure Industrial IoT deployments must have security built-in from the ground up. This must include secure access management, secure execution environments, enhanced data encryption, and smart validation and authentication between sensors, gateways, and the software orchestration platform.

“As we have seen from the results of this study, not every mining business has the skills or technology capabilities to ensure an IoT solution is secure from end-to-end. Businesses need to collaborate with specialist providers who can offer a fully managed IoT service that considers security at every stage, from the edge sensors, to the gateways and orchestration platforms, to the connectivity and networks themselves.” 

Inmarsat is a leading provider of managed Industrial IoT services across the global supply chain. With a track record of operating the world’s most reliable and secure commercial mobile satellite networks for almost 40 years, and advanced capabilities and experience with IoT technologies, Inmarsat helps organisations secure and make a success of their IoT initiatives. 

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