Imagine a hacker, armed with nothing more than a laptop, taking down the power grid, leaving millions without running water, refrigeration, lighting, access to money, technical devices, and eventually food and medicine―for weeks, or longer. This scenario is far closer to plausible for all manner of critical infrastructure because the long-predicted convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) is now reaching critical mass.

The interlock of these two traditionally distinct technology domains is both logical and inevitable in today’s increasingly digital world. IT is enhancing the feature sets, efficiency and operations of the OT infrastructure that runs both enterprises and nation states. While this convergence of technologies brings significant benefits, it also creates function as a ripe and readily available attack surface, introducing exponentially greater risks than the already onerous cyber impacts of data compromise or network failures.

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