Industrial Cyber Security

Honeywell Industrial USB Threat Report: Universal Serial Bus (USB) Threat Vector Trends and Implications for Industrial Operators

These are interesting times for Universal Serial Bus (USB) security. With increasing pressure to limit network access to industrial control systems, industrial plant dependence upon USB removable media to transfer information, files, patches and updates has been greater than ever. At the same time, past research into USB threats has shown that portable USB drives are one of the top threat vectors impacting industrial control systems (Source: BSI, 2016).

While this is notable enough on its own, USB represents an even greater threat than spreading malware: a USB device can be used to attack systems directly, using the USB interface as a powerful attack vector.

In context of these USB security concerns and ongoing threat vector changes, researchers from Honeywell’s Industrial Cyber Security team analyzed USB usage and behavioral data from live production sites globally.

This report shares findings from these research activities and presents USB threat trends. Discussion of potential impact to operational facilities is also discussed.

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