cybersecurity and manufacturing

How Cybersecurity is Impacting the Manufacturing Industry

The manufacturing industry is integral to the effective operation of the United States and it’s numerous supply chains. According to the National Association of Manufacturer’s, 10.94% of the total output in a particular state is produced by manufacturer’s, additionally the manufacturing industry employs about 8.58% of the states workforce. In 2020 alone, manufacturer’s contributed $2269.2 billion to the U.S. GDP(NIST). This makes manufacturing one of the most lucrative and important industries both in the United States and globally, with the industry covering a broad array of sectors including: Metal, Clothing and textiles, electronics, transportation and hundreds of others.

Unfortunately this also puts a target on the industries back for cyber criminals to take aim at. As the scope of cyber crime increases so must manufacturer’s ability to strengthen its security posture.

Deloitte, an auditing, consulting, and tax advisory service, claims that in the last few years 40% of manufacturers reported that their operations had experienced a cyber attack. Obviously, this is an alarming statistic that should inform manufacturer’s of the inevitability of a significant security event within their organization.

In today’s society it isn’t a matter of if, but when your business is targeted by cyber criminals, including the manufacturing industry.

While a majority of these attacks are never given the spotlight, we have seen very public data breaches and attacks that have impacts on the everyday lives of millions of Americans. Two examples of large scale cyber attacks that made it into the public eye in 2021 are the Colonial Pipeline and JBS S.A. Most Americans are aware of the Colonial Pipeline breach as many Americans were left without gas due to a ransomware attack made on the Colonial gas Pipeline. A few weeks later JBS, a meat processing company based out of Brazil had to pay $11 million in ransom to mitigate a cyber attack made against the company. These cyber attacks hurt manufacturer’s financially and in most cases force the complete shut down of business operations until the situation is resolved. Not only is your business losing money, you aren’t making money either.

So why are cyber criminals attacking the manufacturing industry?

As previously mentioned the manufacturing industry is extremely lucrative. Cyber criminals know that some of the largest companies can be the biggest money makers. According to a 2021 Data Breach investigations report by Verizon, 92% of 585 attacks made against manufacturer’s had some kind of financial motive to them. Cyber criminals want your money more than anything else, for some, hacking into organizations is a full time job.

Below we’ll outline some of the ways cyber criminals seek to infiltrate your business.

NIST finds that 32% of MSP’s report that construction and manufacturing are the most targeted industries by ransomware. Ransomware is a technique used by cyber criminals to extort your business for financial gain. It requires hackers to break into your network, locate where your private or important data is, and encrypting it so that you no longer have access. The attacker will then most likely send you a message offering the encryption key to your stolen data for a ransom, hence the name “ransomware”. Usually a business will have to pay thousands of dollars in untraceable cryptocurrency to the attackers without even a guarantee they will get their data back. Ransomware could financially ruin a manufacturing company.

Another threat that businesses may face is social engineering. Social engineering involves the psychological manipulation of employees within your organization in order to gain access to your system. This could include a simple phishing email tricking a user into clicking on a malware infected link, or an attacker physically breaking into your office space to steal important data.

But what can you organization do?

Social engineering and ransomware are two of the biggest threats to your organization that encompass a broad range of malware strands, viruses, worms, and other tactics used to infiltrate your business. Knowing this is there anything you can do to protect yourself? Fortunately there are simple, practical ways to improve your security posture in a timely manner. Implementing security awareness training informs employees of the risks that come with social engineering and ransomware. Making sure your users known what a phishing scheme looks like, how to respond, and what links are safe will help decrease your overall risk. Unfortunately, the biggest risk to your organization are your employees, but educating them can help turn them into cybersecurity assets. Another way to strengthen your security is to perform a security/risk assessment. CorpInfoTech provides a holistic risk assessment that helps you identify your weaknesses as well as offering solutions to help mitigate them. It’s impossible to improve without first knowing where you’re business is lacking. Finally, you can always contact CorpInfoTech to learn how our managed services can help secure your IT infrastructure and ensure your businesses security.

CorpInfoTech (Corporate Information Technologies) provides small to mid-market organizations with expert I.T. services including compliance assessment, cybersecurity penetration tests, and comprehensive business continuity planning services. Corporate Information Technologies can help organizations, quantify, create, refine, and mitigate the risks presented by business threatening disasters in whatever form they may be disguised.

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