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Why Has Manufacturing Become A Prime Target For Hackers?

08 10, 2020 Blog

It has been widely reported that the manufacturing sector has become a prime target for cyberattacks and data breaches over recent years, with one 2019 report citing more than half of manufacturing companies had experienced some type of cyberattack in the last 12 months.

With this in mind, and ahead of our upcoming webinar, ‘Manufacturing secured: helping you address security challenges in manufacturing’, Nowcomm’s Chief Technology Officer, James Baly, and Head of Services, Kevin Prone discuss why the manufacturing industry is an increasingly attractive target for hackers and cyber criminals.

Industry 3.0 – A step into the unknown?

The move to industry 3.0 means several manufacturers are using technology they’ve never used before and so they are less experienced than those in other sectors. New types of tech are being implemented at breakneck speed and those on the factory floor may not have the know-how to identify a potential security breach. With a lack of cybersecurity knowledge, it makes the industry a very attractive target for cybercriminals.

Legacy systems impacting innovation

In this digital age, there is huge pressure on manufacturers to modernise and upgrade out-dated systems that are non-compliant with firewalls. The current environment will also put strains on old and unsafe networks with so many staff working from home and needing remote access to servers.

Businesses will typically be using machinery that has been in place for several years and runs on an operating system such as Windows XP, which is high-risk and would certainly be susceptible to an attack. However, while there may be a desire to move across to automated production the cost can be overwhelming. In the current climate, spending millions of pounds on machinery is just not an option for most companies.

Increasing points of attack

As manufacturing becomes more sophisticated so does the technology used to power it. However, without robust cybersecurity, these systems can be at considerable risk of attack. For example, your business’ main customer database may be protected, but if within your network there are unsecure IoT devices, this presents a potential opportunity for hackers to gain access to your data. An interconnected system may seem fool proof, but without the correct protocols in place every insecure IoT device becomes a point of attack for cybercriminals.

Manufacturing is BIG business for hackers

Research conducted by Infosec found that manufacturing was one of the most targeted industries for cybercrime. This may seem surprising, but when you consider the size of the sector and amount of valuable data large corporations have access to, it’s easy to understand why hackers target this industry. Cyber attackers are more often than not financially motivated and are more likely to target big companies so they can demand a high ransom fee for the information they steal. However, the money gained by hackers is usually far less the cost of the damaged caused to businesses networks and reputations.

High tech or high risk?

Cybersecurity is needed not only to protect valuable data, but to reduce the threat to production too. With the rise of industry 4.0 manufacturers machinery is becoming increasingly connected and high-tech, resulting in a dynamic environment more vulnerable to cybercrime. If an attack were to happen and hackers got not only data, but caused a malfunction in the network, businesses could be stuck with faulty products or a stop in production altogether. Any disruption to the supply chain or productivity could cost manufacturers and their clients significant amounts of money.

To learn how you can reduce your business’s risk and exposure to cybercrime sign-up for our upcoming webinar. Experts from Nowcomm and Cisco will arm you with five key actions to help you stay secure and protect your organisation.

To guarantee your place please register your details here.