Cybersecurity in the manufacturing industry


Demands for consumer goods keep increasing all over the world but with the disruption in operations, the supply keeps dropping. The manufacturing industry is facing crucial shortages and more problems than ever before. On top of all of this, they keep getting hit by cyber-attacks with almost no effective way of defending themselves.

A recent survey from Deloitte has brought to light some dangerous statistics. 39% of manufacturers say that they have faced some sort of cyberattack within the last year. 2020 has followed the same pattern. Visser a parts manufacturer of Tesla of the self-driving cars and Space X of the rockets has faced hit by ransomware. This is extremely concerning as both of these manufacturers rely heavily on the digital side of the process.

The manufacturing industry operates on a tight rope in schedules and Covid-19 disruptions have been extremely detrimental, a cyberattack at this time will force manufacturers to give in to the demands forwarded by attackers, often in the form of ransom. The costs of not paying are often millions of dollars and the cost of paying is about the same. The solution then is better security, but it is not that simple.

The software that a majority of the manufacturers use is vastly outdated and upgrades costs are extremely high. The upgrades itself won’t be substantial enough to justify the expense itself. Despite being called manufacturing the industry does not have many innovations beyond a good cost/profit ratio. These days the manufacturing unit is connected to various sensors, cameras, and other control systems but each of them has its own security vulnerabilities.

Till now, Cybersecurity has been a low priority of this industry, but with COVID-19 automation is a priority focus. The automated parts cannot function if they are constantly under attack by hackers. Manufacturers have to take this seriously if they want to keep making money.

So how can Manufacturers better control cybersecurity? Right now, there are only some simple steps available. Firstly, keep the manufacturing unit in a closed network with no public network involvement. Second, control access to the system to those who need to be on there and make sure their systems are secure. Finally, hire a third-party consultant to manage these aspects, often cheaper than making and managing your own for the short term.

These are very basic steps but you have to get the basics executed well if you want to secure your network. Most breaches occur due to the ease of accessibility for everyone working in and around the factory, by controlling this access a large part of the threat is neutralized.


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