Addressing Operational Technology Risks in Critical Infrastructure with SideChannel Enclave

Aerial view of water treatment plant

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

In the face of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure, especially from pro-Russian hacktivist groups, the recent advisory from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has underscored a pressing need for robust cybersecurity measures. One of the innovative solutions emerging in this arena is SideChannel Enclave, a sophisticated cybersecurity tool designed to mitigate the vulnerabilities in Industrial Control Systems (ICS) and Operational Technology (OT) environments that these advisories highlight.

Understanding the Threat Landscape

Recent reports have detailed a series of cyberattacks targeting North American and European critical infrastructure. These attacks, attributed to groups like the pro-Russian CyberArmyofRussia_Reborn, have exploited outdated virtual network computing (VNC) software, weak passwords, and other vulnerabilities to cause physical disruptions, such as overflowing tanks at water treatment facilities. While described by CISA as generally unsophisticated, the potential for significant damage is clear, especially if such attacks were to escalate beyond nuisance-level impacts.

Enclave: A Strategic Defense Mechanism

SideChannel Enclave is positioned to address these challenges by focusing on several key areas:

  1. Secure Remote Access: Given the vulnerabilities exposed through outdated VNC software, SideChannel Enclave offers a more secure alternative for remote access, ensuring that only authenticated users can interact with critical systems. This is crucial for preventing unauthorized access and manipulation of ICS and OT systems.
  2. Advanced Authentication Protocols: The solution incorporates robust authentication mechanisms, including multifactor authentication (MFA), which CISA strongly recommends. This layer of security is vital in protecting against the exploitation of weak or default passwords—a common point of entry for cyber attackers.
  3. Network Segmentation and Monitoring: SideChannel Enclave helps in segmenting networks and closely monitoring traffic. By creating secure zones, the system can prevent the lateral movement of hackers within networks, thereby containing any potential breaches and reducing the overall risk of widespread system compromise.

Aligning with CISA Recommendations

CISA’s advisory calls for immediate actions to harden HMIs, limit OT systems’ exposure to the internet, and implement strong, unique passwords, among other measures. SideChannel Enclave aligns closely with these recommendations, offering a comprehensive security framework that enhances the resilience of critical infrastructure against cyber threats.


As cyber threats continue to evolve and target critical infrastructure, the need for robust, adaptable, and efficient cybersecurity solutions has never been greater. Enclave stands out as an ideal defense mechanism, offering a multi-layered approach to secure PLCs and other critical control systems in industrial settings. Its implementation not only aligns with the recommendations from CISA but also sets a new standard in protecting our essential services and infrastructure from cyber threats.