Cyber Threat Actors for the Factory of the Future


The increasing degree of connectivity in factory of the future (FoF) environments, with systems that were never designed for a networked environment in terms of their technical security nature, is accompanied by a number of security risks that must be considered. This leads to the necessity of relying on risk assessment-based approaches to reach a sufficiently mature cyber security management level. However, the lack of common definitions of cyber threat actors (CTA) poses challenges in untested environments such as the FoF. This paper analyses policy papers and reports from expert organizations to identify common definitions of CTAs. A significant consensus exists only on two common CTAs, while other CTAs are often either ignored or overestimated in their importance. The identified motivations of CTAs are contrasted with the specific characteristics of FoF environments to determine the most likely CTAs targeting FoF environments. Special emphasis is given to corporate competitors, as FoF environments probably provide better opportunities than ever for industrial espionage if they are not sufficiently secured. In this context, the study aims to draw attention to the research gaps in this area.

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Mirko Sailio (VTT), Outi-Marja Latvala (VTT), Alexander Szanto (Brandenburg Institute for Society and Security)

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Sailio, M.; Latvala, O.-M.; Szanto, A. Cyber Threat Actors for the Factory of the Future. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 4334.