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As manufacturers upgrade and embrace technology, beware of cybersecurity threats!


What industry sectors do you think are most susceptible to cyber attacks?

EC-Council University ranks the most vulnerable industries as
(a) Manufacturing
(b) Professional Business and Consumer Services
(c) Healthcare
(d) Financial Services
(e) Energy and utilities

This source places the manufacturing industry squarely at the top of that list. The manufacturing industry has been transformed and modernized with the introduction of Industry 4.0, or “smart manufacturing.”

Industry 4.0 elevates the importance of digital technology in the manufacturing processes. Advances in many manufacturing facilities have included automation, where manufacturing operations are controlled through IoT devices. The introduction of robotics on the assembly floor also relies on the Internet or wireless devices. With the newer technology, manufacturers can monitor and control equipment remotely, as can the technicians who maintain the equipment. These plants increasingly rely on systems which are intricately linked. The modernization of these plants has found its way into the supply chain systems as well. With these advances, however, also come potential vulnerabilities. A cyber attack on one manufacturer could harm its suppliers, partners, and eventually customers. It could be argued that manufacturing is more susceptible to cyber attack because it is somewhat late to the game in adopting this new technology. With these technological advances, it is crucial for manufacturers to exercise diligence to see that their infrastructure is protected against attacks.

35% of all cyber-espionage attacks target manufacturing

In the United States, 35 percent of all cyber-espionage attacks target the manufacturing sector — the vast majority targeted attacks resulting in the theft of intellectual property, which can have far-reaching impact.


Top Threats

Here are a few of the threats that can cause problems for manufacturers, and other industries.

  • Outdated software. Many plants rely on software systems which may not have the most recent security patches. Hackers can capitalize on these outdated systems through phishing scams and other means. A Fortinet Global Report states that 75% of operational technology associations experienced at least one intrusion in 2023.

  • BlackCat (also known as ALPHV and Noberus) is a type of ransomware written in Rust, a fast, stable programming language capable of running on both Windows and non –Windows systems. It operates on a “Ransomware as a Service” (Raas) model, where the developers offer the malware for use by affiliates and they take a percentage of ransom payments. Additionally, BlackCat created a public data leaks website where the criminals will show stolen data excerpts. They are fairly brazen in their approach. In fact, according to Wikipedia the U.S. Department of State is offering rewards of up to $10 million for leads that could identify or locate ALPHV/BlackCat ransomware gang leaders.

  • Trickbot: The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency reports that TrickBot, first identified in 2016, was originally designed to be a banking Trojan to steal financial data. It has evolved into much more, and is now a multi-stage malware capable of many illegal cyber activities.

  • Targeting ICS: The targeting of industrial control systems (ICS) can include very sophisticated cyber attacks of this infrastructure. The custom tools of this targeting allow the threat to remain undetected for long periods of time. Typically, the cyber criminal will seek to gain a foothold in its target and exploit vulnerabilities including policy and procedure, hardware, operating systems, ICS applications and networks. Ransomware attacks are another significant threat where malicious actors encrypt data and demand ransom for its release.


How To Protect Your Business

How can manufacturers protect themselves against these and other cyber threats? There are measures that a manufacturer can take internally, but it can also be advantageous to partner with a Managed Services Provider for a fully comprehensive plan of protection.

An Industry Week article cites the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework guidelines which offer advice and steps for infrastructure protection.

NIST recommends the following steps:

  1. Limit employee access to your data and information
  2. Install surge protectors and uninterruptable power supplies
  3. Be sure to patch operating systems and software regularly
  4. Install and active software and hardware firewalls
  5. Secure all wireless access points and networks
  6. Use web and email filters
  7. Encrypt sensitive business information
  8. Dispose of no longer used computers and other media safely
  9. Train employees in detecting cyber threats

It’s important for the organization’s leadership to understand and be able to identify potential risks to the infrastructure, and to have a response plan in the event of an attack (Learn how to create a cybersecurity emergency response plan). Who gets notified? How does the company recover its missing data?

For most manufacturers, running their day-to-day operation is time-consuming enough, from productions to logistics to compliance issues and more. Do you have the internal resources to stay ahead of the many cyber challenges facing your facility?

If you are interested in learning more and having a no-obligation conversation, let’s talk. Please contact us here to learn more about our cybersecurity solutions. And please download our free eBook “The Ultimate Guide: Cybersecurity for Business” by visiting

A person with a mobile device and a graphic of a lock over it. The words next to it are "Protect Your Network from Cyber Attacks." There is a button that says "Start Your Technology Journey Today!


Topics: Cybersecurity, Cyber Security, Cybersecurity Provider, manufacturing

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