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Symantec releases neural network-integrated USB scanning station

11 Dec 2018

Symantec has introduced Industrial Control System Protection (ICSP) Neural, the industry’s first neural network-integrated USB scanning station that helps prevent cyber-attacks on operational technology (OT).

Companies have typically relied on unscanned USB devices to update OT systems, increasing the potential for malware infection and targeted attacks.

Industrial control systems that power critical infrastructure often run on outdated Windows systems leaving them vulnerable to both known and unknown threats.

For example, the Stuxnet worm used USB-based malware to manipulate centrifuges in Iranian nuclear plants - ultimately sabotaging a key part of the country’s nuclear programme.

Symantec ICSP Neural utilises artificial intelligence to prevent known and unknown attacks on IoT and OT environments by detecting and providing protection against malware on USB devices.

ICSP Neural stations scan, detect USB-borne malware and sanitise the devices. Existing ICSP deployments have shown that up to 50% of scanned USB devices are infected with malware.

“USB devices are given away at events, shared between co-workers, and reused again and again for business and personal use, introducing the risk of accidental or malicious infection. The impact of connecting an infected device to a critical system can be devastating,” says Symantec advanced threat protection and email security senior vice president Patrick Gardner.

“Behind the scenes, ICSP Neural will retrofit existing infrastructure with a central nervous system to provide protection for critical infrastructure. On the front end, a rugged aluminium design embodies a simple, intuitive user experience that clearly highlights potential threats.”

Simplifying the scanning process is critical to overall security hygiene, as operational technology environments are often in remote areas or field operations, far removed from an organisation’s IT teams.

As such, the ICSP Neural scanning process is simple, requiring no specific security or IT training.

Once connected, ICSP Neural emits visualisations and real-time signals through the LED light ring that indicate when malware has been detected and sanitised.

ICSP Neural supports a full range of OT and IoT devices and systems.

The optional enforcement process prevents the use of unscanned USBs with less than a 5MB installation footprint and can be deployed on operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 10 (Linux support is planned in 2019).

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