Darktrace and Siemens to fast-track AI cyber defense platform for oil and gas

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British cyber security company Darktrace has partnered with Siemens to bring the latest cyber defense for operational technology (OT) to the oil and gas and electric utilities industries.

The partnership brings Darktrace’s Industrial Immune System together with Siemens’ domain OT security expertise to enable customers to enhance their agility in detecting and responding to cyber-attacks.

As these sectors become increasingly digital, there is a growing need to identify cyber-threats at their earliest stages. Oil and gas companies must defend their entire networks, including all OT, against persistent and highly sophisticated cyber-threats without disrupting business processes, the companies said in a statement.

In the oil and gas industry, for instance, digitalization brings a convergence of IT and OT with critical data travelling from the field, to the control room, to the enterprise network.

Darktrace’s platform was independently credited with successfully detected and contained the WannaCry ransomware attack for a number of its customers, spotting the threat within minutes and contained it. The worldwide WannaCry malware attack affected government, company and personal devices across 150 countries, encrypting data and demanding ransom for its return.

Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, the Enterprise Immune System uses artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to automatically detect and take action against cyber-threats within all types of networks, including physical, cloud and virtualized networks, as well as IoT and industrial control systems.

Modelled after the human immune system, the technology self-learns the normal “pattern of life” within a network and uses that understanding to spot threatening anomalies. In the event of a breach, the automatic response technology takes proportionate remedial action akin to sending “digital antibodies” containing the infiltration before it has escalated into a crisis.

Leveraging advances in machine learning and probabilistic mathematics, the platform can detect and remediate in-progress cyber-threats at their nascent stages, said the company, which maintains main offices in Cambridge and San Francisco.

Darktrace was also named the winner of the Security Innovation of the Year award at the inaugural National Technology Awards in London this week.

“As OT environments become more digital, they open a new and glaring vulnerability in organizations of all sizes,” said Nicole Eagan, Darktrace chief executive officer. “With over 2,400 deployments to date, Darktrace’s immune system technology is uniquely capable of not only identifying in-progress threats, but also neutralizing them. We are pleased to be partnering with Siemens to fast-track the delivery of our globally recognized Industrial Immune System to additional customers in utilities and the oil and gas industry.

"This new era of cyber warfare has resulted in an increased demand for our machine learning technology, which is uniquely capable of providing automated security to environments that extend beyond the corporate network,” Eagan said.