ICIT Publishes “The Rise of Disruptionware: A Cyber-Physical Threat to Operational Technology Environments”

25 September 2019

Washington D.C., Sept. 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This week, the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT) published “The Rise of Disruptionware: A Cyber-Physical Threat to Operational Technology Environments,” a paper that explores an alarming trend which sees adversaries disrupting business continuity and introducing severe risk into OT environments through the use of malware that can degrade or halt manufacturing processes, damage reputations, extort money from victims, or accomplish other targeted outcomes.

Disruptionware is an emerging category of malware designed to suspend operations within a victim organization.  With recent ransomware incidents (currently the world’s most common disruptionware component) highlighting the harm disruptionware attacks can cause to unprepared organizations, it is critical that business and technology leaders immediately understand this threat and develop risk mitigation plans to protect themselves.

The paper was done in partnership with Forescout Technologies, an ICIT Fellow Program Member with deep capabilities in OT security, and authored by Parham Eftekhari, Executive Director, ICIT and Ryan Brichant, ICIT Fellow & VP, CTO Critical Infrastructure and OT Security, Forescout.

“Ensuring business continuity has always been a top priority for business and technology leaders overseeing our manufacturing, utilities, and other OT heavy environments,” said Eftekhari. “The intent behind this paper was to create awareness around how disruptionware is being used to degrade or halt business operations and offer recommendations on steps organizations can take to improve resiliency.”

The paper includes a definition of disruptionware, factors contributing to the risk disruptionware poses to manufacturing and other OT environments, high-level case studies of recent incidents such as the LockerGoga ransomware attack, steps organizations can take to minimize the risk disruptionware poses to their systems, and links to publicly available resources.

About:  ICIT is a 501(c)3 non-partisan cybersecurity think tank with a mission to cultivate a cybersecurity renaissance that will improve the resiliency of our Nation’s critical infrastructure sectors, defend our democratic institutions, and empower generations of cybersecurity leaders. Our freely available research and educational events offer a trusted source of objective learning for public and private sector policymakers, technology and cybersecurity leaders, and business executives.  Together, we can defend today’s vulnerabilities while changing cultures for a more secure future.



Parham EftekhariInstitute for Critical Infrastructure Technology2026007250info@icitech.org