Magda On Cyber
Published in

Magda On Cyber

Manufacturing and Cybersecurity: What are the Risks?

As a business owner, you know that keeping your data safe is critical. In the manufacturing industry, cyber threats can be especially dangerous. Hackers can gain access to your systems and steal sensitive information, or even worse, damage your equipment. In this blog post, we will discuss how to protect your business from cyber-attacks.

We will cover topics such as cybersecurity best practices and insurance policies that can help safeguard your company.

The manufacturing industry transformation and digitization are resulting in greater connectivity and data sharing across the sector. Unfortunately, this also creates new opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities.

The cybersecurity myth in manufacturing is that it’s not a target for cybercriminals. However, this is simply not the case. The manufacturing industry is a prime target for attackers due to the many vulnerabilities present. A recent study by PwC found that 43 percent of manufacturers have experienced a cybersecurity breach in the last 12 months, compared to just 36 percent of all other companies.

The manufacturing industry is under constant attack from cybercriminals looking to take advantage of its many vulnerabilities. In fact, the manufacturing industry is no stranger to cyber attacks. In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack hit businesses around the world, including manufacturers. The Petya/NotPetya malware also caused significant damage to many manufacturing companies. These attacks were able to exploit vulnerabilities in systems and spread quickly, causing millions of dollars in damages.

Operational technology is becoming increasingly connected and integrated. This offers many benefits, such as increased efficiency and data sharing. We see increasingly IT and OT convergence, making it more difficult to protect against cyber threats. As manufacturers increasingly rely on technology to improve operations, they are also connecting their IT and OT systems. This convergence creates new opportunities for cybercriminals to target manufacturing companies. For example, in the Stuxnet attack, attackers were able to gain access to industrial control systems and cause physical damage to equipment. The convergence of IT and OT systems is a major challenge for manufacturers when it comes to cybersecurity. It creates new entry points for cybercriminals. As the manufacturing industry continues to digitize, it’s important to be aware of the cybersecurity risks.

Internet of things devices, such as sensors and controllers, are often used in manufacturing. These devices are usually connected to the internet and can collect and share data. However, they can also be hacked and used to gain access to a company’s network. In some cases, these devices may not have adequate security measures in place. As a result, it’s important to carefully consider the security of these devices when choosing which ones to use for your business.

All those technologies interconnected create a larger attack surface for a cybercriminal to exploit. Compromised systems can lead to data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage. In some cases, attackers can even take control of physical equipment. This might lead to a catastrophic situation, such as a factory shutdown. The shutdown, of course, costs the company money while halting production. It can also lead to equipment being damaged, like PLC. PLC is a computer used to control industrial machinery. It can be found in manufacturing, oil and gas, water and wastewater treatment plants, and other critical infrastructure.

Often though manufacturing companies believe that their industrial equipment is not exposed to the Internet. However, this is not always the case. For example, some PLCs can be accessed remotely through the internet if they are not properly configured. If a cybercriminal were to gain access to one of these devices, they could cause serious damage to the equipment or even take control of it. SCADA is also a system used in manufacturing that can be remotely accessed. SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition. It is a system that collects data from sensors and controllers to help manage industrial processes.

There is also a challenge and a gap between standard cybersecurity and industrial cybersecurity. The industrial sector has unique needs when it comes to cybersecurity. For example, manufacturing companies often have legacy systems that are not always compatible with modern cybersecurity solutions. Additionally, these companies may not have the same level of expertise in cybersecurity as other industries. As a result, there is a need for tailored and specific solutions for the manufacturing industry.

It’s important for manufacturers to be aware of the cybersecurity risks and take steps to protect their business.

There are a few key steps you can take to protect your business from cyber attacks. First, you should have a comprehensive security plan in place. This should include both physical and digital security measures. You should also educate your employees on cybersecurity best practices and make sure they understand the importance of following safety protocols. Finally, you should consider investing in insurance policies that will help cover the costs of a breach.

While no system is 100% secure, taking these steps can help reduce the risk.

Cybersecurity best practices include:

-Keeping software and operating systems up to date with the latest security patches

-Using strong passwords and two-factor authentication

-Restricting access to systems and data to only authorized users

-Monitoring networks for suspicious activity

-Backing up data regularly in case of an attack

There are also insurance policies available that can help cover the costs of a cyber attack. These policies can cover expenses such as business interruption, data recovery, and legal fees. When choosing an insurance policy, it is important to make sure that it covers both direct and indirect losses. Direct losses are those that are a direct result of the attack, such as damage to equipment. Indirect losses are those that are not directly caused by the attack but are a result of it, such as business interruption.

While no one can completely protect their business from every possible cyber attack, by taking steps to improve cybersecurity and investing in insurance, manufacturers can reduce the risk of an attack and be better prepared if one does occur. Cyber attacks can cause significant damage to businesses, but by taking precautions and being prepared, manufacturers can minimize the impact of an attack. Cyber insurance for manufacturing companies is important, but it is not a cure-all. It is still important to take steps to prevent attacks from happening in the first place.

In conclusion, the manufacturing industry is facing a number of challenges when it comes to cybersecurity. These challenges include the convergence of IT and OT systems, the use of internet of things devices, and the need for specialized solutions. As the industry continues to digitize, these challenges will become more prevalent. Manufacturers must be aware of these risks and take steps to mitigate them.

One way to mitigate these risks is by investing in industrial cybersecurity solutions. These solutions can help protect against data breaches, financial losses, and reputational damage. Additionally, they can help to keep physical equipment safe from attackers. However, it’s important to choose the right solution for your company. Not all solutions are created equal.

By Magda Chelly

Chief Security Officer | TEDx Speaker | Author & Keynote Speaker | IFSEC Global Top 20 Cybersecurity Influencer | Entrepreneur | PhD, S-CISO, CISSP, Cert SCI (General Insurance)

Find out on

Follow Magda on Twitter:


Follow Magda on her Social Media Accounts:



Magda’s research topics have been focusing on cybersecurity, the future of localisation and positioning, education and more. Her research works and writings around cybersecurity have been featured by IEEE, RSA Conference, CYBERSEC, World Congress on Internet Security..

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

Cyberfeminist | Entrepreneur | Former CISO | PhD, CISSP, S-CISO | CoFounder @R3sp_Cyb3r | @womenoncyber | Documentary The Dark Web on @myCanal