The drive towards a more digital future is something that is at the forefront of a number of businesses’ minds. There is, however, one industry where the leap into becoming a more digital-led sector is more prospective – the manufacturing industry.
Technology adoption in the manufacturing industry is becoming increasingly important with many companies currently going through a period of huge and quick change. As a result of technological innovation, this can offer unparalleled opportunities for businesses and companies of all sizes.
However, whilst this offers a number of advantages and new opportunities for manufacturers, it also brings with it a number of risks in terms of cyber security. In the manufacturing industry, there has been an increase in the number of attacks targeted towards firms in the sector. Last year alone, breaches of cyber security in the manufacturing sector were the highest at 22%, followed by finance and insurance at 19%.
With the manufacturing industry continuing to evolve, it is believed that cyber security risks will become more complex in the near future. In our latest blog post, we take a look at the importance of cyber security in the manufacturing industry.
Can Manufacturing Innovations Increase Cyber Risk?
The new technologies that are leading to smarter factories and workforces bring with them increased productivity, flexibility and awareness for employees. However, increased digitalisation increases the risk of surface-level cyber attacks.
On the whole, cyber threats are broad and can affect any number of areas within your business or network, but some technologies are more prone to certain vulnerabilities. It’s worth considering that some technologies are more susceptible to certain types of cyber attacks and newer technologies within the manufacturing industry and innovations can leave your business more vulnerable to attacks. This is why if you’re considering applying new technologies to your business, you should also consider which is the appropriate cyber security for the manufacturing industry.
What Are The Main Cyber Security Risks For Manufacturing Companies?
The manufacturing industry attracts a lot of attention from cyber criminals largely due to the combination of multiple endpoints, legacy systems on which companies are reliant and long supply chains from which they can exploit. This offers criminals many opportunities to take advantage of weak points in these areas.
In 2022, 23% of cyber security breaches in the manufacturing industry were the result of anomalies in networks and applications. Over a third (37%) of attacks were related to malware. This is why manufacturing companies must ensure that any potential threats or weaknesses within their systems are addressed with their cyber security protection. Let’s take a look at some of the main risks to cyber security for manufacturing companies.
Social Engineering Attacks
Phishing and social engineering attacks can pose a huge threat to the manufacturing industry, especially since the number of remote workers increased during the pandemic. This is because many people are now working using unmanaged and poorly-protected devices to connect to the internet. Cyber criminals can use this information to gain unauthorised access to your manufacturing company networks, make fraudulent transactions or try to impersonate or manipulate employees into sharing sensitive information.
Ransomware was the largest contributor to breaches in cyber security for the manufacturing industry last year, with over a third of cyber attacks the result of ransomware. Cybercriminals can, and often do, use ransomware attacks even without any technical knowledge as they can purchase something known as Ransomware-as-a-Service (or RaaS).
This allows them to attack businesses on scale and can cause crippling effects on manufacturing companies and disrupt their supply chains. Downtime in any area of a business can be costly, but it is something which can be really strongly felt in the manufacturing industry, where any loss in production time can cause a loss in revenue.
Supply Chain Attacks
Typically speaking, manufacturing companies have lengthy supply chains, meaning that any attack which then targets the supply chain can have a huge effect on many different areas within the business. Not only do supply chain attacks and disruptions offer cyber criminals the opportunity to cause large-scale disruption, but it also offers them a way to get into the systems.
Manufacturing companies, in a lot of cases, tend to have fragmented cyber security protections. This means that, should an attack happen, it will likely go unnoticed for a long period of time which can lead to huge losses and damages. A supply chain attack can, in some cases, be big enough to take down international businesses and companies. In the past, companies such as Microsoft and even Government agencies have been greatly affected by supply chain disruptions and attacks, showing that businesses of any size can fall victim to supply chain attacks.
Improving Levels of Cyber Security in the Manufacturing Industry
There are many levels of risk involved when it comes to cyber threats in the manufacturing industry. There are things you can do to improve your levels of cyber security protection and ensure numerous areas within your company and business are protected and run as they should.
Conducting regular cyber risk assessments is important in any industry, but more so in rapidly changing and evolving industries such as manufacturing. Risk assessments can provide accurate information and can be the most useful source of information and insight into your cyber security defences.
It’s also important to offer training within your business, especially if you are implementing and adapting new technologies and processes. Education is one of the best ways to help protect information within your business and should form part of your onboarding process for all new employees, as well as regular refreshers for current employees throughout their time with the company.
It’s clear that cyber attacks against the manufacturing industry won’t be slowing any time soon, so it is important to ensure your business is well protected against cyber attacks. Here at CYFOR Secure, we can provide you with support and protection for cyber security in manufacturing. For more information, please contact us today to discuss your requirements in more detail.