Building Management

The ever-present spectre of cybercrime casts a shadow over businesses in the digital era, irrespective of their scale. As organizations eagerly adopt cutting-edge software and technologies to optimize their operations, they unwittingly become vulnerable to external attacks.

Smart buildings have transformed from mere physical structures to complex autonomous systems that control critical building functions, such as lighting, energy, and video surveillance. Many newly constructed buildings in the United States, boasting over 100,000 square feet, are equipped with these autonomous features. This evolution has brought with it a range of security concerns that extend far beyond the traditional physical perimeter of a building.

The global smart building market is poised for substantial growth, projected to reach $127.09 billion by 2027 at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5%. With the increasing prevalence of smart buildings across the globe, it becomes imperative to analyze the primary cybersecurity threats that pose significant risks to these advanced structures.

Building Management Illustration

Cyberattacks Security Protection for
Building Management

OT Security Building Management Attack Surface Graph

Understanding Smart Buildings and Their Benefits

A smart building integrates cutting-edge solutions that enable automation, proactive maintenance, and optimal utilization of space. These buildings stand out due to their seamless integration of interconnected systems, facilitating efficient communication and sharing of information.

Smart buildings streamline space usage and reduce operational costs by leveraging occupancy analytics. They integrate core systems and various building systems to ensure cohesive functionality and synchronized operations across the entire facility.

Smart buildings excel in preventive maintenance by leveraging advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), building management systems, and augmented reality. They harness data collected from diverse touchpoints and sensors to understand the building's usage patterns.

Smart buildings are considered at the forefront of business innovation, as they have demonstrated the ability to enhance productivity, optimize energy consumption, and reduce operational expenses. Improved air quality, enhanced security, efficient lighting, streamlined processes, and enhanced sanitation contribute to better productivity within smart buildings.

By embracing the concept of a smart building, organizations ensure the seamless operation of their premises while adapting to the evolving requirements of the environment.

The Most Common Security Risks in Building Management Systems

Building Automation System (BAS)

The Building Automation System (BAS) poses a significant vulnerability for smart buildings as it controls critical functions such as heating, ventilation, lighting, security, and air conditioning. Interconnectivity among lighting, climate, and elevator systems in smart buildings often lacks robust security protocols. For instance, the security measures for HVAC systems may not include data encryption.

Poorly controlled remote access is a common vulnerability in BMS, as demonstrated by the Target hack in 2013. Attackers stole login credentials used by Target's HVAC vendor to connect to the Target web applications, which gave them access to Target's Active Directory and ultimately, the POS system. This allowed them to obtain credit and debit card data for over 110 million accounts without directly attacking the POS.

The increased number of entry points for hackers expands the attack surface, rendering businesses within smart buildings more susceptible to cyber threats.

IoT Devices

In smart buildings, the seamless functioning of interconnected systems heavily relies on a diverse range of IoT devices for communication. However, even just one compromised IoT device creates an entry point for hackers, allowing them to infiltrate the system undetected, potentially for months. Disturbingly, fifty-seven percent of IoT devices are susceptible to medium- or high-severity attacks, making them attractive targets for malicious actors.

A wide range of common appliances that connect to the internet, such as doorbell cameras, smart meters, fitness trackers, smart speakers, and connected cars, fall under the category of IoT devices. Neglecting the security of these devices is akin to leaving a backdoor wide open or placing a key under the doormat.

Even high-profile figures such as Joe Biden faced security concerns regarding the use of his Peloton bike in the White House upon assuming the presidency. To mitigate the risk of data breaches, companies must prioritize implementing robust security measures for every connected device within a smart building.

Surveillance Cameras, a part of OT security

Human Error and Outdated Software: Vulnerabilities in Smart Buildings

Users actively contribute to the vulnerability of smart building systems to cyber threats. While human input is essential for the seamless operation of smart buildings, it also introduces the risk of human error. Engaging in activities like downloading malware or employing weak passwords can result in a network breach and unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Furthermore, the rise of remote work has increased the likelihood of using personal devices on insecure networks, making the individual's device and the smart building they work in susceptible to attacks.

Another vulnerability arises from using outdated software in smart buildings. Research reveals that 37% of computers controlling smart building automation systems experienced malicious attacks in the first half of 2019. All devices in smart buildings must run the latest versions of their operating software.

Failure to update software exposes smart buildings to cybercriminals who target vulnerabilities in older software versions. Installing updates promptly is essential to maintain security and prevent compatibility issues with other devices and sensors vital for smart building operations.

Importance of Industrial Cybersecurity Solutions in Preventing Cyber Attacks

As cybersecurity threats continue to evolve and become more complex, it's becoming increasingly important for organizations to leverage industrial OT cybersecurity solutions to protect their critical infrastructure. Traditional security methods are proving to be insufficient, making it imperative for businesses to take proactive measures to prevent cyber attacks.

Investing in BlastShield's industrial cybersecurity solution is a proactive step towards protecting your building management system against cyber threats. With BlastShield's software-defined perimeter, organizations can implement a zero-trust architecture and prevent attacks before they occur while reducing the risk of stolen credentials and complex management.

Don't wait until it's too late - invest in BlastShield's industrial OT cybersecurity solution today.

Building Management Industry Brief

The building management industry is becoming increasingly digitized, with the adoption of smart building technologies that allow for remote monitoring and control of building systems such as HVAC, lighting, and security. However, this also makes the industry more vulnerable to cyber attacks, which can disrupt building operations, compromise sensitive data, and even threaten the safety of occupants.

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