December 21, 2021
In today’s connected world most working industries in the US have had to face the realities of cyber threats for years now. Financial institutions, medical facilities, retail chains, and more have adapted their cybersecurity measures to match the ever changing landscape of cyber threats.
The manufacturing industry, however, has been able to go much longer blissfully unaware of the threats other industries have been facing for many years. Until now.
In the past, manufacturing has been able to operate somewhat disconnected from the outside world. When compared to other customer facing industries, manufacturing was seen to have less to offer. All that has changed in the last few years as technology has continued to evolve and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been incorporated into most manufacturing environments. Manufacturing is now just as digital and vulnerable to cyber attacks as all other industries.
Part of the value and appeal of manufacturing companies to cyber criminals is, given the history, they are far less prepared and protected from cyber attacks than most other industries. The vulnerabilities within manufacturing IT infrastructure are found far and wide.
Cybersecurity Threats to Manufacturing
Most manufacturing companies and their often overwhelmed IT staff simply lack the knowledge and training to know how to detect cyber threats and better protect their company and data. This is why it can be helpful to work with our accredited team of cybersecurity experts to get your IT infrastructure up to and beyond industry standards of security. This will help you avoid falling victim to the most common threats to manufacturing listed below.
Phishing is one of the oldest tricks in the book but continues to get more and more sophisticated. Today, a phishing attack on a manufacturing company would likely look like an email that is coming from within the company. It would have a company email address, use management names, and have all the right logos.
It can be really hard to spot phishing emails if you aren’t aware or properly trained. These emails are used by cybercriminals to gain access into the manufacturing network. Once they are given access through phishing they can usually move throughout the network undetected until they gain access to the information or data they are looking for.
This is a form of malware that has a ransom attached to it. In other words, cybercriminals who gain access to your system can hold your data hostage until you pay a ransom. Even when you pay the ransom there is no guarantee your data will be released back to you. Ransomware can cost a company millions of dollars to correct and recover from.
Operational technology is used extensively in manufacturing. The use of machines and devices in this way isn’t new but linking them to modern communication systems is. This has opened them up to a whole new world of cybersecurity threats.
Not only does lack of security around these devices open up a door to your overall network, it could be used as an especially dangerous attack where cybercriminals could take over the operation and cause machines to act in harmful and destructive ways.
Your company’s Intellectual property (IP) is part of what makes up its value, especially in manufacturing. Cybercriminals know how valuable this IP can be and often forgo seeking your data and go straight to gaining access to steal your IP. The way attackers can move through your network undetected means you may not even know it was stolen until you see your trade secrets used elsewhere.
Supply Chain Attacks
With manufacturing, long supply chains and fragmented security systems mean this industry is especially vulnerable to supply chain attacks. These attacks can halt the entire supply chain affecting every company involved.
For example, In May 2021, a supply chain attack on Colonial Pipeline shut down 45% of the fuel supply in the Eastern U.S., clearly echoing fears of the potential damage of a supply chain attack that affects the nation’s critical infrastructure.
The damages and effects of supply chain attacks often go far beyond the affected manufacturing company.
It’s time for manufacturing companies to put their defenses up against these cyber attacks. Utilizing managed IT services in Dayton, Ohio is a great place to start. Let our team of accredited cybersecurity professionals partner with you to improve your cybersecurity infrastructure and keep your cyber assets safe for years to come.