Online Security – Tech Companies Selling Protection Against IoT Cyber Attacks Edit Title

TOKYO -- Hitachi and other companies here and abroad are marketing security systems that repel cyber attacks targeting interconnected industrial equipment, an increasingly attractive target for hackers due to their vulnerabilities.

Slated for release next year, Hitachi's systems will ensure the security of control systems for equipment found in plants, railways, power stations and other locations. Data exchanged between control devices will be monitored. Once irregular operations or other early signs of a cyber attack are detected, the system automatically cuts off access.

Hitachi will sell software that can be installed in existing systems, and also dedicated equipment that links up to a company's internal network. The Tokyo-based technology company will first make the solutions available in Japan before expanding overseas.

NEC has begun a consulting service that tests the cyber security of control systems overseeing plants, water supplies and gas lines. Clients will receive advice on how to beef up defenses. Fees start at 4 million yen ($35,000). General Electric is also offering equipment that monitors control systems, through a group company.

The market is growing rapidly for industrial ecosystems regulated by the "internet of things," which connects devices via networks. Global sales of related services and equipment are projected to reach $123.8 billion in 2021, tripling from the 2015 level, data from Indian marketing research firm Industry ARC shows.

But risks of cyber attacks on these smart systems are emerging worldwide. They are considered easier to infiltrate than servers and computers, which usually come with protection software. Israeli internet security company Check Point Software Technologies reported discovering an attempt by hackers to breach control systems at a nuclear power plant. Cyber attackers manipulating control systems also caused damage to a blast furnace at a German steel mill.

Even so-called connected cars are vulnerable to attack. Israel's Karamba Security recently began selling anti-hacking software for such vehicles in Japan. The program screens and blocks unauthorized access to connected cars, in which outside actors may take over the engine or the steering wheel.

Japanese automakers are moving to adopt this software. David Barzilai, executive chairman at Karamba, points out that lives will be at risk if security against cyber attacks on autos is not up to speed. Last year in the U.S., Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was forced to announce a massive recall after the disclosure of a way to wirelessly hack and take over a Jeep.

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