Symantec unveils first neural network to protect against cyber attack
Symantec Corp. of Mountain View, CA introduced on December 5 Industrial Control System Protection (ICSP) Neural, the industry’s first neural network-integrated USB scanning station that helps organizations protect critical infrastructure by preventing the devastating physical consequences of cyber-attacks on operational technology (OT).
OT is mission-critical in industries such as energy, oil and gas, manufacturing, and transportation, but legacy systems are often outdated and nearly impossible to secure with traditional endpoint security. Companies have typically relied on unscanned USB devices to update these systems, increasing the potential for malware infection and targeted attacks.
The threat of cyber warfare – including physical damage and personal safety – is very real and the consequences are potentially devastating. Despite this, the industrial control systems that power critical infrastructure often run on outdated Windows systems leaving them vulnerable to both known and unknown threats. For example, the infamous Symantec-discovered Stuxnet worm used USB-based malware to manipulate centrifuges in Iranian nuclear plants – ultimately sabotaging a key part of the country’s nuclear program. To help combat this type of threat, the U.S. government elevated its Cyber Command to a full combatant command in May 2018.
Symantec ICSP Neural utilizes artificial intelligence to prevent known and unknown attacks on IoT and OT environments by detecting and providing protection against malware on USB devices. ICSP Neural stations scan, detect USB-borne malware, and sanitize the devices. Existing ICSP deployments have shown that up to 50 percent of scanned USB devices are infected with malware.
“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, 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.”