overlay shape

Cyberthreats to the Manufacturing Sector Are On the Rise

The manufacturing sector is now the second-most likely industry to get hit with directed cyberattacks – attacks which cause production disruptions, downtime, and even physical damage to product and persons alike. While some manufacturers are stepping up their cyber-defenses, there’s still a long way to go in getting standardized IT security across the board for this vulnerable industry. There are some big challenges on the road ahead in changing-over industrial control systems (ICS). This article will look into just why the factory floors are being targeted, and exactly what manufacturing captains of industry can do to stem the tide of such threats.

Manufacturing Cyber Security

Learning by the Numbers

The irony of being more connected, and thus having more productivity and better performance at less cost is that IT networks are being opened up to more vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. This is being proven especially true for industrial control systems, or ICS. According to a recent report from IBM X-Force Research’s 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, cyberattacks which target manufacturing organizations are increasing. Small comfort for manufacturing industry leaders is a finding in the report that, “A significant increase in attacks rocketed healthcare straight past financial services and manufacturing.” But, although the healthcare industry has now taken over first position as the most sought-after target of hackers and other cyber threats, manufacturing must still “speak softly and carry a big stick” – the big stick being more and better IT services, which include better data backup as well as cyber threat detection and prevention.

Neutralizing Threats

The IBM report went on to say that cyber attackers are much more likely to go after large corporate manufacturing networks, as opposed to, say, chemical manufacturers, or manufacturers with small corporate or business IT networks. This is precisely why the automotive industry is the most sought-after manufacturing sub-sector by attackers. There is also a correlation to the revelation in 2015 that hackers could remotely attack a “connected” car. This backs up the point that connectivity must happen hand-in-glove with security, so that threats can be neutralized prior to their becoming as issue.

Making the Case for More Security

In its 2016 Manufacturing Report, Technology Resource Partner Sikich corroborated the IBM report’s finding on increased cyberattacks on the manufacturing sector. The Sikich report goes on to state that industrial control systems and IT networks remain vulnerable because of inadequate or non-existent cybersecurity measures. The report also shows that cybersecurity is not high on manufacturers’ priority lists, and as a result, they are leaving themselves wide open to cyber threat or disaster, even if their control systems, machines, devices, personnel, etc. are more connected. The Sikich report revealed that only 33% of those surveyed in the manufacturing industry claimed to be performing annual penetration testing within their IT departments. ICS networks were shown to be even more vulnerable, as even less was being done to secure them. In an age of international tensions, an import-export crisis, and ever-increasing cyberattacks, this oversight on the part of manufacturing CEOs is a particularly weighty one.

Get Real IT Pros On the Job

Only an experienced IT support team can get your industrial network adequately wired-up and secure. Call us today for a free consultation on what we can do to help get your ICS and IT networks running up to speed. One Source Imaging Solutions is the leader in providing managed IT services in Baltimore MD, Arlington VA, as well as in PA and NJ.  Contact an IT pro at (800) 875-8843 or send us an email at ITsolutions@osisIT.com, and we will be happy to answer all your questions.