Understanding OT Cybersecurity Attack Vectors

Learn About the Most Common OT Cybersecurity Exploits

In the realm of cybersecurity, an “attack vector” refers to the method or pathway through which a cybercriminal gains unauthorized access to a system or network, to deliver a malicious payload or harmful outcome. Essentially, it is the door or window that adversaries use to enter a digital environment, often exploiting vulnerabilities or weaknesses.

When considering Operational Technology (OT) environments, understanding attack vectors takes on a heightened significance. Unlike traditional IT networks, OT systems often directly manage and control critical physical processes and infrastructures. As a result, breaches in OT security can lead to tangible, often severe, real-world consequences. This emphasizes the importance of recognizing and mitigating potential avenues of attack specific to OT domains. With this backdrop, let’s delve into some of the common OT cybersecurity attack vectors as well as how Mangan Cybersecurity addresses them:

Removable Media

Removable Media and USB Drives

Industrial environments often use USBs or other removable media to update systems or transfer data. If not properly scanned or managed, these can be a major entry point for malware.
Mangan Insight: Our comprehensive assessment checks for adherence to best practices related to removable media and provides recommendations to minimize risks.

Remote Access Exploits

Unauthorized or weakly secured remote access points can provide cybercriminals with direct entry into OT networks.
Mangan Strategy: We design secure remote access policies, recommending and/or implementing robust authentication mechanisms to protect your OT assets.

Unpatched or Legacy Systems

OT environments often run older systems, which may not receive regular patches, making them vulnerable.
Mangan Approach: Our team identifies unpatched and legacy devices, offering solutions to protect or modernize them while ensuring minimal operational disruption.

Network Propagation

Once inside a network, malicious actors can move laterally to target high-value OT assets.
Mangan Advantage: We design and implement OT segmentation strategies to limit lateral movement and deploy advanced monitoring solutions that can detect unusual activities with your specific business objectives in mind.

Supply Chain Threats

Components, software, or updates sourced from vendors can introduce vulnerabilities if they’re compromised.
Mangan Expertise: Our vendor risk assessments and secure procurement guidelines ensure the integrity of your supply chain.

Phishing Targeting OT Personnel

Specific phishing campaigns can be designed to target OT personnel, seeking to gain credentials to OT systems.
Mangan Solution: Our cybersecurity training programs equip OT staff with the skills to recognize and fend off targeted phishing attempts.

Network Propagation for OT Systems
Physical Tampering for OT Equipment

Physical Tampering

Direct access to OT equipment can lead to tampering or installation of malicious hardware components. Mangan Defense: We help secure physical access points and deploy intrusion detection measures to safeguard critical equipment.

Insecure Wireless Communication

Many OT devices now communicate wirelessly, which can be intercepted or disrupted. Mangan Standard: Our team helps in setting up secure wireless protocols and monitoring systems to guard against interference.

Misconfigured Devices

Improperly configured devices can inadvertently open vulnerabilities in OT environments. Mangan Prowess: We undertake thorough device configuration reviews and enforce best practice guidelines across your OT landscape.

Unauthorized Access and Insider Threats

Whether unintentional or malicious, actions by employees or contractors can jeopardize OT security. Mangan’s Comprehensive Approach: We implement role-based access controls and monitor user activities, ensuring only authorized actions within the OT environment.


Our team of experts can engage in an effective way to help you understand how mature your OT cybersecurity posture is and how the IT-OT networks are connected. Our unique approach to cybersecurity risks always integrated with business continuity in mind, helps to protect your most valuable assets. Leveraging our ICSSbD® Evaluation Toolkit, a comprehensive cybersecurity assessment can be completed in matter of few days or weeks, allowing for quick feedback, remediation, or response if necessary.
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