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使用高级 OT 安全保护 DoD 楼宇管理系统

使用高级 OT 安全保护 DoD 楼宇管理系统

The cyberthreats to the U.S. Department of Defense’s building management systems (BMS) have grown exponentially due to the DoD's adoption of smart technologies such as IoT. These smart technologies are designed to improve the monitoring and maintenance of these systems, but they also create new attack surfaces. Here's how the DoD can use operational technology (OT) security to mitigate BMS cyberthreats through enhanced visibility, threat detections and automated risk prioritization. 

Building management systems (BMS) have become increasingly essential for the efficient functioning of U.S. military installations. These systems control and monitor a building’s mechanical and electrical equipment, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), fire safety and access control.

The scale of BMS deployments is particularly immense at the U.S. Department of Defense. The DoD noted in its Annual Energy Performance, Resilience and Readiness Report in 2022 that it spent $3.96 billion to power, heat and cool its buildings. In addition there are more than 500 DoD installations worldwide, with over 500,000 buildings and structures, covering millions of acres of land in the U.S, U.S territories and over 30 other countries. 

Operational technology (OT) – a broader range of technologies used to monitor and control physical processes and operations — is being increasingly deployed and connected to BMS by the DoD, making BMS a key component of OT environments in the DoD across bases and facilities. Unfortunately, this growing use of OT significantly increases the attack surface and risk for BMS, potentially putting DoD installations at heightened risk of cyberattacks. 

BMS challenges and security risks

BMS adoption brings challenges, especially when legacy systems that lack current cybersecurity capabilities are integrated with modern networks. Further complicating the picture is the integration of smart devices and internet of things (IoT) sensors with BMS, which makes BMS more vulnerable to attacks. Additionally, the unique protocols used by OT in BMS lower asset visibility and increase the risk of security breaches.

The challenges are real. A report by Kaspersky ICS CERT revealed that, in 2022, nearly half (42%) of computers in building automation infrastructures faced cyberthreats.

Where OT and BMS intersect

The integration of OT smart technologies in BMS has revolutionized the way DoD facilities operate, playing a big role in the wellbeing and safety of personnel and the security of critical data and infrastructure. Smart technologies in these BMS include:

  • Automated climate control: Smart climate control systems precisely manage temperature and air quality. They provide optimal working conditions for in-office personnel and protect sensitive equipment from environmental damage. When climate control isn’t working properly, data centers can overheat and security systems can fail.
  • Advanced security surveillance: BMS include sophisticated surveillance systems that go beyond traditional video monitoring. These can include motion detectors, thermal imaging and facial recognition technologies.
  • Energy management and sustainability: By optimizing the use of resources like electricity and water, these systems not only reduce operational costs but also minimize military installations’ environmental impact.
  • Access control systems: BMS have advanced access control mechanisms, such as biometric scanners and RFID technology, to manage entry into secure areas.
  • Emergency response and fire safety: Integrated fire detection and suppression systems within the BMS framework play a critical role in emergency response. Smart sensors can detect smoke or heat anomalies and trigger automated responses.
  • Infrastructure monitoring and maintenance: BMS also includes tools for monitoring the structural health of buildings and other infrastructure. Using sensors and IoT technology, these systems can detect potential issues like water leaks or structural weaknesses before they become critical problems.
  • Communication systems integration: BMS can help enable efficient coordination and dissemination of information across the facility. This is particularly important in scenarios where quick communication and rapid response are necessary, such as coordinating evacuation plans during emergencies or issuing alerts about security threats.

Implementing BMS OT for DoD

The DoD needs to secure its BMS against evolving OT cybersecurity threats. To help make that possible, they need a solution that provides:

  • Enhanced visibility into BMS components for accurate and real-time visibility into anomalies or vulnerabilities.
  • Robust threat detection and response mechanisms for quick identification of a range of cybersecurity threats, from common malware to sophisticated zero-day attacks.
  • Proactive maintenance and situational awareness  through continuous monitoring of system parameters, such as firmware versions, user access levels and network traffic.
  • Prioritization and management of vulnerabilities, giving you the ability to assess and prioritize vulnerabilities based on their severity and potential impact on the BMS.
  • Seamless integration with existing security systems and frameworks through a technology partnership program that creates a unified and cohesive security approach.
  • Automated policy visibility and compliance to reduce the likelihood of human error and establishment of consistent application of security policies across the BMS infrastructure.
  • Support for segmented enclaves to enhance visibility of multi-layer networks into a holistic interface.

Securing the future of DoD operations

Tenable OT Security is designed to protect BMS in DoD agencies and commercial organizations. It helps maintain operational integrity and protect against cyberthreats. It also enables the secure implementation of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT within BMS, ensuring these integrations don't compromise security. Furthermore, Tenable OT Security can help streamline security policy enforcement across various BMS environments, automating and standardizing policy applications to reduce errors and complexity. 

Tenable OT security seamlessly integrates with Tenable Security Center+, which powers the DoD-mandated Assured Compliance and Assessment Solution (ACAS) for vulnerability management. This integration strengthens the DoD's overall BMS security architecture and provides a single pane of glass view for IT and OT vulnerabilities, while also eliminating the need to add more tools to your tech stack. By adopting Tenable OT Security, the DoD can significantly enhance the efficiency and security of its BMS, safeguarding critical military infrastructure and providing uninterrupted operations. 

To discover how Tenable can help you secure your BMS and OT environments in the DoD, reach out to our sales team for a demo or delve into the additional assets below.

This is the third blog in our six-part blog series on OT in the DoD. Below are links to other blogs in the series:

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