The increasing risk from cyberattacks can be traced around four main events: the increased centralising of functions and merging of IT and OT (operations technology), an increase in government led cyberattacks for commercial sabotage or cyberwarfare, the rise of environmental hacktivism, and the mining sector’s increased dependency on technology to operate profitably.
Improvements to computing and network infrastructure technology has allowed mining businesses to rationalise costs by centralising functions wherever possible across their supply chains. The use of more sophisticated systems and networked connectivity has enabled a globally disparate workforce to be more easily directed centrally and to work together over different regions. Alongside this development has been the ongoing convergence of information technology with operations technology. Where OT supports the physical value creation and manufacturing processes, IT combines the technologies needed for information processing. There are many benefits in business efficiencies to blending these two areas, however, a key difference between IT and OT is that the latter tends to be much older, having been deployed with a longer life expectancy to meet returns on investment than most IT systems. The result is a greater risk of access from hackers to older systems that were not designed for today’s security challenges.