Growth of the Market and Threat Landscape Drive Manufacturing Cybersecurity

As reported in the Digital Journal, the global cyber physical system market is continuously increasing and expected to keep on that trajectory. Driving this growth is digital and technological transformation of many industries including healthcare, energy, automation, building design and agriculture. But with the good also comes the bad.  While these shifts have helped to make such operations more efficient, they have brought about greater threat risks as well. A major sector experiencing just this is manufacturing.

In 2018, manufacturing companies were low on the list of cyberattack targets. However, in a year’s time, they took the eighth spot. By 2021, they jumped to second place. This is particularly concerning because an attack on a manufacturing system can lead to disruptions in production, breaches of intellectual property and loss of finances if ransomware payment is demanded. And these are just some of the examples. But what makes such a possibility even more challenging is that manufacturing is a heavily dependent industry. As an article for The Tube & Pipe Journal explains, every company relies on partners like suppliers, investors and distributors, among others. This quality really widens the landscape of bad actors.

That’s not the only influencer impacting manufacturing’s need for cybersecurity, though. There is also COVID-19. According to ExecutiveGov, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency recently issued a warning that the critical manufacturing sector faces an increased risk of cyberattacks to industrial control systems during the pandemic due to issues like unauthorized remote access and the transition to a heightened use of robotic process automation.

On top of that, the CISA, FBI and NSA also put out a cybersecurity advisory in January that alerts organizations to be mindful of any Russian state-sponsored cyberthreats. While the reasoning for this advisory is debated, it may stem from the awareness of current events unfolding between Russia and Ukraine alongside an examination of past events. Regardless, the importance of protecting critical infrastructure is emphasized. Experts advise that tackling this task begins with implementing a security awareness program, which helps in spotting anything suspicious as well as practices like password hygiene. Multi-factor authentication is also a helpful tool, especially when pandemic-related impacts are considered, particularly remote work. Kurt Markley, U.S. managing director at Apricorn, stated to Industry Week that, “Russian state-sponsored attacks target employees at every level, leaving many companies exposed. Yet, according to our recent report, 49% of IT professionals say that individual employees in their organization do not consider themselves targets that attackers can use to access company data.”

Other preventative practices that are crucial to remedy the potential of an attack are putting data protection and recovery methods in place. The article from The Tube & Pipe Journal also suggests investing in cybersecurity specialists that are versed in the field, including management, tools and responses necessary. Like mentioned above, it also supports the push for a well thought out and detailed plan that involves an appointed team to oversee. This, in turn, benefits a company when it is looking to acquire other resources such as cyber insurance.

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