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Noninvasive industrial cybersecurity aims to make South African industries resilient

10th May 2019 BY: Schalk Burger
Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

France-headquartered cybersecurity multinational GECI has launched its suite of industrial cybersecurity services and solutions in South Africa to help make local industrial companies and sites resilient to cyberattacks, says GECI South Africa director Mike Bergen.

The solutions can be deployed into existing production environments without requiring an overhaul of the information technology (IT) or operational technology (OT) architecture or hardware.

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The behavioural analytics solution is non-invasive and monitors the network to identify known and unknown anomalous code found on devices, in communications streams from devices, and in emails, attachments, websites and chats. The solution checks the content, disarms the malicious and/or suspicious code and then reconstructs the file or document without the anomaly, he explains.

“We also have a 24-hour standby cybersecurity team that can help clients to fend off persistent and sustained attacks or respond as soon as an attack or disruption is detected.”

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The company provides solutions for manufacturers and companies in the fields of aerospace, transportation, energy, petrochemicals, infrastructure, finance, IT and telecommunications sectors.

“We have significant experience protecting the oil and gas industry, and protecting digitalised mines from cyberattacks carried out over the Industrial Internet of Things. For example, we protect autonomous vehicles used by a diversified mining multinational company at an opencast mine.”

South Africa presents an opportunity for the company to demonstrate its cybersecurity capabilities to the mining sector, in addition to the broader industrial sector, he notes.

“Cyberattacks have escalated beyond data theft and ransomware attacks to attacks specifically designed to shut down critical infrastructure, manipulate markets and even cripple cities and, potentially, countries.”

Significantly, local industrial companies’ risk assessment exercises have found a huge amount of data leakage taking place, adds local GECI business development partner Sinac Group MD Thuli Mgwebile.

She says this data leakage, coupled with vulnerable access controls at plants, presents significant vulnerabilities that can be misused and exploited.

A multinational shipping company was taken offline for two weeks last year as a result of a cyberattack and lost $300-million as a result. A pharmaceuticals manufacturer lost about $800-million, while a French construction materials company lost about €220-million as a result of a hack.

“Cyberattacks have reached pandemic proportions, and there are significant indications that some cybercriminals are national- or State-sponsored actors with sabotage and cyberwarfare as their objectives,” declares Bergen.

The company’s CyberX industrial control system protector is deployed across more than 1 200 production networks worldwide and it also provides remote monitoring and analysis services, called TripleCyber.

GECI’s CyberX solution is used to defend two of the top five US power utilities, a US chemicals company, a UK gas distributor’s network and a State energy pipeline, among many other industrial companies.

GECI’s services also include BitDam, a cybersecurity company that delivers the highest detection rates of advanced attacks within the communication stream. This is suitable for industrial data and IT communications streams.

The group has evolved to focus on digital technologies and has branched into industrial IT/OT cybersecurity on the back of several acquisitions and partnerships, including CyberX, BitDam, and with Israeli cybersecurity startup ODI-X, which specialises in disarmament and reconstruction technologies, concludes Bergen. 

EDITED BY: Martin Zhuwakinyu Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
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