The world is connected — through the Internet, smart grids, mobile technology, communication platforms and central power systems. Recognizing this means that you also have to recognize that with each connection and additional layer, security becomes more important — and systems driven by networking may be more vulnerable.
Businesses are often the target of cyberattacks due to the illict fame of success, or the payoffs that can result from breaching the security of national systems, whether achieved through hacktivist groups, individuals or countries.
Recognizing this, security firm Kaspersky Labs is committed to building a new kind of operation system in the hopes of defending against major industrial exploits and attacks.
It won’t be an operating system like Windows or Mac, but will work as an “additional security layer” that runs on top of an original OS — monitoring healthy systems and isolating threats including malware. Eugene Kapersky writes:
“Our system is highly tailored, developed for solving a specific narrow task, and not intended for playing Half-Life on, editing your vacation videos, or blathering on social media.
We’re working on methods of writing software which by design won’t be able to carry out any behind-the-scenes, undeclared activity. This is the important bit: the impossibility of executing third-party code, or of breaking into the system or running unauthorized applications on our OS; and this is both provable and testable.”
The operating system will be tailored for industrial use. Kapersky mentions nuclear power stations, energy supply, transportation control facilities, financial and telecommunications systems as infrastructures which must be protected — to stop malware from disrupting energy allocation, phone networks or stealing sensitive information.
The difference between industrial and personal systems is that industrial projects must be kept operational at all costs — you cannot simply turn off and reboot a sewage system, for example.
In recent years, supposedly state-sponsored cyberattacks including Stuxnet and Flame makes security even more crucial — and even though Kapersky has not released many specific details, it does mean that crucial services and systems may have a more secure future.