In the past, banks and financial institutions were the main targets of cyberattacks. However, things have changed, and now the manufacturing industry is at the top of the list. According to IBM's X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, manufacturing has been the most attacked industry for two years.
The manufacturing industry is undergoing significant changes due to automation and digitalisation, known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Industries with Operational Technologies (OT) networks, such as mining, utilities, and oil and gas, are particularly vulnerable to aggressive ransomware attacks, especially those that run their online activities without a hide VPN, because of their extensive networks of connected devices.
Manufacturers are attractive targets for cybercriminals because they are averse to downtime and are more likely to pay a ransom. Additionally, their complex supply chains create more vulnerabilities compared to other sectors. The pandemic has worsened these issues, with unplanned downtime costing an average of $22,000 per minute. So, it's not a matter of if, but when a manufacturer will be attacked. The bigger question now is, how prepared is the business to prevent an attack or recover from a breach?
Let’s dive into how manufacturers can make sense of the available options and improve their security.
Security by default: security should no longer be considered optional. Manufacturers need to reassess their perception of risks and security protocols to align with the modern threat landscape. This involves understanding concepts like zero trust, automation toolkits, the strengths and weaknesses of third-party services, the importance of VPN service, and seeking consultation and personalised deployment to enhance security.
Building layers of resilience: cybersecurity involves three key pillars: people, processes, and technology. Manufacturers can protect themselves by creating layers of resilience around their employees, processes, and technologies. This means implementing reliable security measures at every level.
Outsourcing security and risk: new risks emerge as businesses become more globalised and interconnected. Offloading some risks through cyber insurance and third-party arrangements can be helpful, but it doesn't eliminate all threats. Companies must invest in employee cybersecurity training, establish secure partnerships, and develop secure supply chains. Security should be integrated into every aspect of the business.
Preparing for a breach: the first line of defence for security teams is risk prevention. To prepare for a breach, manufacturers should:
- review and consolidate security toolkits within the organisation
- seek consultation and training to ensure proper deployment and management of security controls
- focus on risk prevention through effective technical controls, threat detection, analysis, and response measures
- prioritise risks and automate remediation controls to respond quickly and efficiently.
Also, to manage a breach, manufacturers should:
- leverage automation to remove manual tasks and enable faster response to threats
- utilise threat intelligence to prioritise actions and prevent attacks
- respond to breaches swiftly to limit the damage and plan for recovery.
While these tips work, manufacturers should not let the fear of a breach undermine their confidence in managing cybersecurity. Breaches are inevitable, but with the right technologies, policies, people, and consultation, the damage can be contained. Manufacturers should aim to create a resilient network of interconnected security measures to deter, contain, diminish, and eliminate threats.