Siemens and SparkCognition protect against cyber attacks

  • June 30, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Texas-based SparkCognition collaborated with Siemens to develop a cyber-security system that protects endpoint or remote, operational technology (OT) assets across the energy value chain by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI).
The DeepArmor Industrial AI-driven system can deliver antivirus, threat detection, application control and zero-day attack prevention to endpoint power generation, oil and gas, and transmission and distribution assets. This brings fleet level cyber-security monitoring and protection capabilities to the energy industry.
“Cyber attacks on the energy industry are on the rise in volume and in sophistication, and they increasingly threaten companies’ physical safety and security, business operations, and the critical infrastructure that powers communities throughout the world,” said Leo Simonovich, head of industrial cyber security at Siemens. “Many energy companies with remote, endpoint assets have struggled to defend their environment because they either lacked the visibility to detect or the agility to mitigate cyber attacks that threaten operational technologies. This new partnership combines Siemens’ cyber-security expertise in securing operational technology with SparkCognition’s expertise in artificial intelligence to deliver the energy industry’s first solution capable of detecting and protecting remote assets against cyber attacks.”
The threat of mega cyber attacks targeting critical infrastructure is worsening, according to a joint study by the Ponemon Institute and Siemens that surveyed global energy industry executives on a wide range of threats, vulnerabilities and strategies required to protect oil and gas assets. The study found that two-thirds of respondents believe the risk level to industrial control systems over the past few years has substantially increased because of cyber threats. The study also found that 61 per cent of respondents said their organisations’ protection and security for industrial control systems were not adequate.
“Through our extensive work with the energy industry, we’ve seen the pain points and challenges the industry is facing right now,” said Sridhar Sudarsan, chief technology officer at SparkCognition. “The industry needs security that can both operate autonomously and is designed with the modern industrial environment in mind. Together with Siemens, we are excited to bring next-generation endpoint protection that is specifically designed to increase the cyber resilience of OT networks and prevent advanced threat actors from impacting critical infrastructure.”
OT assets operating in the field are particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks as much of the energy industry’s critical infrastructure was engineered before the widespread digitisation of industrial control systems. This leaves portions or entire fleets without the ability to be patched or cost effectively updated with new security defences.
With machine-learning technology, a multinational footprint, and expert teams focused on defence, IIoT and finance, SparkCognition builds AI systems to protect infrastructure and financial systems.