Manufacturing businesses are also potential targets of cybercriminals, especially since the industry is highly lucrative. This means that cybercriminals could also exploit several vulnerabilities in the systems of smart factories and manufacturing companies for impersonation purposes and financial gain.
For this reason, prioritizing cybersecurity is a must when operating a manufacturing business. Experts from Redpoint’s managed cyber security service also recommend implementing proactive cyberattack prevention, such as threat hunting, penetration testing, compromise assessments, and ethical hacking.
Find out more about the most common cybersecurity threats, proactive cyberattack prevention tips, and other important things to know about cybersecurity for manufacturing businesses below.
1. Common Cybersecurity Threats In Manufacturing
According to Statista, the manufacturing industry had the highest incidence of cyberattacks in 2021 worldwide, followed by finance and insurance and professional and business services. This statistical data should alert manufacturers and encourage them to find ways to improve their cybersecurity posture.
But what are the common cybersecurity threats in the industry that manufacturers must be keen on preventing? When it comes to cybersecurity threats, manufacturing businesses usually experience:
- Phishing Attacks
Because of legacy or outdated manufacturing equipment, different IT infrastructure locations, less secure encryption, and a lack of centralized security visibility, the manufacturing industry is highly vulnerable to phishing attacks. This cybersecurity threat involves sending malicious email attachments or spoofed websites to target recipients. Such web-based malware downloads contain trojans and other malicious content to transfer information to the cybercriminal.
Cybercriminals could take advantage of the operational structure of manufacturing businesses wherein a single attack can disrupt their production, leading to downstream supply chains. Therefore, manufacturing organizations don’t have a choice but to pay a ransom.
- Intellectual Property Theft
Threat actors infiltrate a manufacturing company’s network. They move laterally within the system, stealing trade information and transferring data within seconds. Because some government agencies have contracts with manufacturing companies, cyberattacks could target military secrets or conduct pure cyber espionage.
- Supply Chain Attacks
Cyber attackers access a manufacturing company’s network through a third-party supplier using malicious software or inflicted malware. This incident gives threat actors keys to payment information, customer records, and other sensitive information.
2. Cybersecurity Solutions For Manufacturing Businesses
Manufacturing problems can be addressed by the collaboration of technology and humans. In this case, employees will determine the right data to guide and oversee the proper functioning of automated manufacturing technologies and cybersecurity solutions.
Below are the cybersecurity solutions for manufacturing businesses:
- Penetration Testing
This proactive cybersecurity prevention measure involves testing a manufacturing organization’s network by ethically penetrating or hacking into the system to ensure no threats harm processes and security protocols. Penetration testing exposes a system’s weakness that can cause breaches in factory floor equipment and control rooms.
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Manufacturing industry ERP solutions can help synchronize operations, streamlining and centralizing all activities to gain higher visibility, especially for potential threats and vulnerabilities. With ERP, connecting manufacturing operations to supply chains is possible. This technology automates manufacturing processes for scalable and secure planning and management.
- Managed Security Services
Manufacturing companies can hire managed security providers to oversee their software and hardware security. Instead of forming an in-house IT team, startup manufacturing companies can entrust their cybersecurity to experts without spending much money or investing in high-end tools. Managed security providers (MSPs) employ highly knowledgeable and competent cybersecurity experts with years of experience supporting manufacturing networks and systems.
3. Future Cybersecurity Challenges In Manufacturing
The manufacturing industry must be ready for future cybersecurity challenges to avoid disruptions in operations and improve efficiency. For instance, one of the biggest cybersecurity challenges manufacturing companies could face in the future is how to bridge the information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) divide.
The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, brings rapid technological changes to the manufacturing industry. For example, the increasing convergence of IT and OT patterns change the dynamics of production equipment, data analytics, and other manufacturing functions. And with the power of Internet of Things (IoT), offline assembly line machines and tools are now online.
Zero trust is important in preventing OT security threats, such as IoT botnets and malware infliction via intranet and internet. This security model enables users to access applications without a direct connection to the corporate network. With that, manufacturing companies must develop zero trust policies to resolve device restrictions. In addition, implementing two-factor authentication and biometrics can also help future-proof manufacturing cybersecurity.
Manufacturing businesses also encounter various forms of cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. Apart from upgrading security networks and systems, manufacturing companies must deploy proactive prevention security measures to strengthen their IT infrastructure and cybersecurity reliance. With the help of cybersecurity experts, manufacturing companies can protect their trade secrets from threat actors and ensure long-term business continuity with minimal disruptions.