Magda On Cyber
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Magda On Cyber

The Top 3 Cyber Risks in Manufacturing and How to Mitigate Them

In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of cyber attacks targeting manufacturing companies. These attacks can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line, as well as their reputation. That’s why it’s more important than ever for CISOs and CTOs to be aware of the top cyber risks in manufacturing and how to mitigate them.

Manufacturing companies are a major target for cyber criminals because they often hold large amounts of data and have complex networks. Attackers can exploit vulnerabilities in these networks to gain access to sensitive information or disrupt production. One of the most common types of attacks against manufacturing companies is ransomware. In a ransomware attack, attackers encrypt a company’s data and demand a ransom to decrypt it. This can lead to significant financial losses and downtime for the company.

One of the biggest mistakes in the industry is thinking that the ICS environment is air-gapped and can not be hacked. This is not anymore the case . There have been several high-profile attacks in the past few years that have proven that ICS systems are not immune to cyberattacks.

How can a cyber attack happen within an ICS environment?

There are several ways that a cyber attack can happen within an ICS environment. One way is through social engineering, for example providing an infected USB key to an employee. Another way is infecting the vendor providing regular maintenance, and another possibility is having an insider that deliberately installs malware.

What are the consequences of a cyber attack on an ICS system?

The consequences of a cyber attack on an ICS system can be disastrous. If an attacker gains control of the system, they could manipulate the process and cause physical damage to the equipment. For example, in the Stuxnet attack on Iran’s nuclear facility, the attackers were able to damage centrifuges by making them spin faster than they could handle. This type of attack could easily lead to a loss of life.

What are some steps that can be taken to prevent a cyber attack from happening?

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent a cyber attack from happening. One step is to have strong security measures in place for all ICS components. This includes firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, amongst other controls across people, process and technology.

Production Disruption

A major threat for manufacturers is an attack on their industrial control systems (ICS). These systems are used to control critical infrastructure, such as power plants and water treatment facilities. If these systems are breached, it could have a major impact on public safety. To prevent this type of attack, it’s important to have strong security measures in place for all ICS components, including firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and disaster recovery plans.

Data Leakage by Insiders

One of the biggest cyber threats or vulnerabilities faced by manufacturers is a lack of employee training and awareness. Many employees are not aware of the importance of cybersecurity or how to protect themselves from attacks. This can lead to accidental data breaches or even malware infections. To mitigate this risk, it’s important to provide regular cybersecurity training for all employees and make sure they’re aware of best practices for staying safe online.

Supply Chain Disruptions

Manufacturing industry is also exposed to supply chain attacks. This is where an attacker targets a company’s suppliers or other third-party vendors in order to gain access to their systems and sensitive data. This type of attack can be difficult to detect and can have a major impact on a company’s operations.

In the manufacturing industry, there are several stakeholders involved. From suppliers to customers, there is a large web of connections. A factory, for example has on average 400–500 suppliers, any of which could be the source of an infection.

An attacker only needs to compromise one link in this chain to gain access to the manufacturing company’s network. A supply chain attack can have a ripple effect, impacting not just the manufacturer, but also their customers and other businesses in the supply chain.

To mitigate this specific supply chain risk, it’s important to have strong security protocols in place for all of your suppliers and third-party vendors. This includes things like background checks, two-factor authentication, and regular security audits and assessments of your third-parties.

Manufacturing companies are increasingly being targeted by cyber criminals. The best way to protect against these risks is to have a comprehensive cybersecurity program in place. This should include employee training, incident response plans, and regular vulnerability assessments.

That’s why it’s important for CISOs and CTOs to be aware of the top three cyber risks in manufacturing and how to mitigate them. By taking steps to improve security across the supply chain, implementing strong security measures for industrial control systems, and providing regular cybersecurity training for employees, you can help keep your company safe from attack.

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)

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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..

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