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Hackers will target industrial assets, experts warn

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Chemical facilities, energy platforms and other critical industrial assets face increased risk of cyber attacks this year, according to Marsh & McLennan and cyber-security group FireEye.

Last year’s WannaCry ransomware attack, which crippled the UK health system and the functions of other global groups, was a hint of things to come.

“The second major trend that will accelerate [this year] is the emergence of new vectors of attack, particularly against critical infrastructure,” the businesses say in a joint report.

“This development is doubly significant from a cyber perspective.

“If attackers can reprogram safety instrumented systems, the ramifications could be profound both in terms of physical damage and loss of life.”

The introduction of stronger data protection laws will also reshape the cyber landscape this year.

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation, taking effect in May, is the most significant, with companies required to disclose cyber breaches or face steep penalties.

“Governments are adopting new laws that impose elevated, and exacting, standards on the business community,” the report says.

“As governments are going to play an increasingly active role in a company’s compliance with cyber laws, take the time to reach out to key agencies.”