Blog

Safeguarding Critical Water Infrastructure: A Collaborative Breakthrough

May 2, 2024

By Rayzone Group in collaboration with The Marker

Critifence by Rayzone Group and Mekorot, the National Water Company of Israel, have joined forces to safeguard water infrastructure from cyberattacks. This joint project harnesses Critifence’s cutting-edge SCADADome XDR platform, providing an advanced and comprehensive solution to protect water facilities from cyber threats and address the unique security challenges facing critical infrastructure.

Critifence successfully completed a research and development project in cooperation with the Mekorot and the Water Authority, which aims to establish a robust information security infrastructure capable of safeguarding Israeli water infrastructure from cyber attacks. This infrastructure is designed to counter the security challenges inherent in SCADA and Command-and-Control systems that form the backbone of water infrastructure operations.

 

Critical Environments – A Prime Target for Cyber Attacks

Cyber-attacks have become the weapon of the 21st century. Critical infrastructures worldwide have become prime targets for malicious actors seeking to inflict economic, social, and environmental harm. Disrupting essential services such as electricity, water, transportation, and healthcare not only poses immediate risks but also threatens broader societal stability.

Command-and-Control systems are at the heart of operational environments in critical infrastructures. Any breach of these systems can lead to the disruption of vital processes, complicating maintenance efforts and jeopardizing operational integrity. “The rise in cyber-attack attempts of the critical infrastructure control and automation environments by groups of hackers with different motives – whether criminal, espionage, terrorism or political factors – is becoming increasingly widespread,” says Eyal Harari, Head of Cyber Security at Rayzone Group’s Cyber Security Division.

 

Necessity Drives Collaboration

The collaboration between Mekorot and the Water Authority stemmed from a necessity, following an increase in attack attempts and the complexity of recognizing these attempts in time. This led to Mekorot and the Water Authority to recognize the growing need and demand for advanced defence of cyber security in water systems and the water infrastructure.

Following a rigorous tender process and a comprehensive evaluation, they selected Critifence’s SCADADome XDR platform, the only solution offering complete protection for SCADA networks and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) among the options considered.

 

Comprehensive Visibility and Real-Time Monitoring

The SCADADome solution enables secure, quick, and versatile integration with critical infrastructures without the need for additional components like communication hubs.

Yossi Yaacoby, Head of Engineering at Mekorot, explains that the solution supports in a structured way the interfaces for systems that use serial interfaces. These systems make up about 70% of all SCADA systems in critical infrastructures today.

“The pinnacle of the SCADADome solution is the ability to monitor and receive information from various sources within the operating environment and the process, including the various systems and the control network, whether it is information collected from the network layer, intelligent insights, or logs from the various SCADA systems”, emphasizes Yaacoby.

“Using diverse sources and cross-referencing the information in real time, allows you to get a clear picture in the event of a cyber-attack, or various cyber threats that compromise the process and production layer. The ability to detect the anomalies allows management of unknown attacks (such as Zero-Day) or attacks such as those that can also reach existing equipment (FIRMWARE), and when they happen, they require an immediate solution that doesn’t impact the operational systems and the various process environments. These capabilities are unique to the solution and constitute one of its outstanding advantages”.

Alon Shpigner, Director of Mekorot’s Command-and-Control unit, underscores the importance of the partnership with Critifence, and its substantial contribution to defending global water infrastructures. “We welcome and are delighted that together we can assist in locating, identifying and preventing attacks on water infrastructures in Israel and beyond, thus providing protection for the most sensitive processes within critical infrastructures,” he says.

Critifence SCADADome XDR Platform (SXP)

 

Importance of Research to Safeguarding Critical Infrastructure

Critifence’s commitment to protecting critical infrastructure extends beyond the SCADADome solution. The company operates a dedicated research group focused on cyber threats and vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure. This team, comprising leading cyber researchers and hackers, has accumulated significant achievements, including the detection of over 20 zero-day vulnerabilities. Their findings have been shared through international cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security (US-CERT), contributing to the neutralization of vulnerabilities in partnership with relevant manufacturers and enhancing critical infrastructure security.

“The group’s research and activity are the basis that constitutes the backbone for building the SCADADome solution and also for developing a dynamic and broad communication protocol analysis mechanism, which enables fast, accurate and high-quality adaptation for different and diverse SCADA environments that are the heart of the solution,” notes Roni David, Director of Tenders and Processes at Rayzone Group.

 

Evolving Methodology in Critical Infrastructure Defense

The evolving landscape of cybersecurity demands a paradigm shift in defense methodologies, transcending conventional approaches. Identifying and preventing cyber attacks while ensuring uninterrupted critical processes and operations is a paramount concern across infrastructures globally, including water, sewage, electricity, gas, and energy sectors.

Eran Goldstein, CEO and Founder of Critifence states, “The joint path of Critifence and Mekorot also led to a perception change regarding the methodology of protecting critical infrastructures, as well as the company’s security solution. In the past, critical infrastructure protection primarily relied on analyzing communication protocols for anomaly detection. Today, there’s a clear shift from traditional monitoring and protection solutions towards hybrid monitoring and identification approaches. The advantage of this approach is the ability to provide a broader and clearer picture of the various cyber threats and the backstory to their occurrence, thus enabling better communication, when they occur, between the parties responsible for the ongoing operation of the systems and infrastructure at the process level, and between the information security personnel and the technical parties.”

 

In Conclusion

The collaborative efforts of Critifence and Mekorot represent a significant milestone in advancing critical infrastructure protection. By harnessing innovation, research, and collaboration, they pave the way for a more resilient and secure future for essential services worldwide.

 

For the full article in Hebrew, as published on The Marker, click here

 

We are here to answer your questions and provide you with the information you need! Contact us at info@rayzoneg.com and let us know how we can help.

 

More Insightful Reads…

May 19, 2024

Navigating the Blockchain: Investigating Suspicious Crypto Transactions and Unveiling the Identities Behind Them

In the ever-evolving landscape of cryptocurrency, the anonymity offered to users has long been exploited by threat actors and networks...

By Yeva Menshikova

March 19, 2024

Millions Lost, Data Exposed: The Growing Threat on Financial Institutions

Cyberattacks are on the rise in the financial sector, causing significant financial losses and disruption.  According to the IBM Cost...

By Orly Koren

February 28, 2024

A New Era in Border Control: AI-Driven Intelligence Solution for Smarter, Safer Borders

In a world increasingly interconnected, where more people are traveling to diverse destinations for various reasons, safeguarding borders has become...

By Orly Koren

Never miss another article

WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN MORE?

CONTACT US