Evolved cyber threats prove that every company is vulnerable to cyber attacks. The manufacturing industry is in a unique position because threat actors looking for a competitive advantage make manufacturers the prime targets of hackers. Connected technologies used for increased production and efficiency, create avenues for attack. Companies need to take cybersecurity more seriously and fortify the defense system to reduce financial loss and production downtime.
According to a report by Verizon on Data Breach, 86 percent of attacks on manufacturers are targeted acts of cyber-espionage. Cybercriminals attack manufacturers to obtain information regarding planning, research, and development of a product. 47 percent of manufacturing breaches were motivated to gain a competitive advantage. Manufacturers have to remain competitive in the market and as the competition increases the demand for the stolen intellectual property also increases.
Manufacturers use the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning to improve efficiency, but these new technologies also increase the risk of cyber attacks. However, these technologies are vital to remaining competitive. Companies have to strike a balance between increasing efficiency and reducing the security risk. Verizon’s report found out that state-affiliated actors were the main threat to manufacturers. Most external attacks begin with a phishing mail, where the attacker hopes that an employee would click on the link and four percent of employees do it. Therefore, companies must educate their employees about cybersecurity at all levels.
Organizations must keep highly sensitive data away from the rest of the network and only authorized employees must have access. Implement data loss prevention (DLP) controls to track and prevent the transfer of data. Educating employees on cybersecurity should be one of the priorities of an organization. Use security measures explicitly designed for IoT systems that are designed to keep the connected devices secure. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) should be implemented to prevent the theft of employee login credentials. Both external and internal factors pose a threat to manufacturers. They must fortify their cybersecurity practices to protect their trade secrets. With knowledge, manufacturers can better defend themselves.
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