Over the last few years, cyber-attacks on Operational Technology have increased rapidly in frequency and scale. As geopolitical tensions are reflected in cyberspace and attacker technologies become more advanced, the cyber-threat to critical infrastructure and other key operational systems is now front and center of national security concerns. There is a new frontline in cyber defense where protecting against increasingly sophisticated attacks and anticipating future developments in attacker tradecraft is crucial.
This white paper evaluates the development of known OT attack campaigns, and the wider progression of malware, in order to identify trends and extrapolate future scenarios. Special focus is given to the emergence of AI and machine learning techniques, which have revolutionized cyber defense, and will become even more critical as we look into a near future where machine learning is also used by attackers. The grave dangers of weaponized AI are particularly acute in the OT space, and are likely to lead to a form of cyber arms race where only the best AI system will win out.