Cyber Security in the Manufacturing Industry

By KMS on June 23, 2017 | Topics > Operations

Would it surprise you to know that the manufacturing industry is the second-most hacked industry? According the IBM’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, healthcare is the most hacked industry, with manufacturing trailing close behind. This trend is likely due to manufacturers believing they won’t be targeted because they don’t store large amounts of consumer or valuable information.

In August of 2016, it became drastically apparent how vulnerable the manufacturing industry was to cyber threats. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab uncovered a sophisticated cybercrime operation that targeted over 130 manufacturing, industrial and engineering firms spanning the globe. Using email phishing tactics that used spoof letters from banks, Operation Ghoul attempted to get recipients to give out confidential corporate information.

A good way to start ensuring your company is protected from cyber threats is to review your security provision and consider the impact a potential hack could have on your business. A report by Sikich details that the cybersecurity risks to the manufacturing industry include anything from operational downtime, physical damage, production manipulation and intellectual property and confidential data being stolen. In manufacturing, competitive advantage can be a crucial to the success a business may enjoy, so if a proprietary design that a company has spent millions of dollars perfecting were to be stolen through a cyberattack, that could be devastating.

You may now be asking yourself how can you prevent serious attacks like Operation Ghoul from happening to your business? The first step is to treat data security as a business issue, and not just an IT problem. There are more things to consider than just having strong passwords and changing them frequently. Employees should be thoroughly trained, and certified when required. The possibility of an insider threat should also not be taken lightly and employees should be carefully vetted before they are given access to confidential information.

It's also important to ensure your business is protected through other steps like patching your operating systems and applications on a regular basis, as well as setting up web and email filters and using encryption whenever possible, especially for sensitive business information. Running up-to-date antivirus, antispyware, and antimalware programs can also shield your business from being the victim of cyberattacks.

Manufacturers must understand and manage the risks they face regarding their cybersecurity, as no one can afford to leave themselves vulnerable to cyberattacks. Investing in your company’s cybersecurity is vital now more than it has ever been in the past.