Taking Steps towards Secure Manufacturing

In 2016, an independent study recognized the manufacturing industry as the second most attacked industry. While the healthcare sector is still the most frequently attacked, attacks on manufacturing come as no surprise since it’s an expansive industry that includes the automotive, textile, electronic and other subgroups that manufacture a multitude of different products.

Motivations behind manufacturing attacks

Based on previous incidents involving attacks on manufacturing facilities, we’ve learned that attackers are fueled by different motivations, ranging from business rivalry and financial reasons, to simply wanting to cause widespread damage (sometimes for amusement).

  • Last year an independent report detailed that 94% of the data breaches suffered by manufacturers could be classified as “espionage”, meaning that these attacks were purposefully targeting proprietary information about products or processes. Corporate rivalry and competition is a deeply motivating cause as well.
  • Money is also a major factor, motivating extortionists who will hold systems hostage for cash and opportunists that attack systems to manipulate stock values.
  • Manufacturers suffer attacks from nation-states that may want to cause widespread damage to infrastructure or delay manufacturing for key products (possibly military in nature). These attacks could also be done to negatively affect a country’s economy.
  • Big hacking incidents that grab headlines are useful for hackers that want to promote their own name. These individuals may want to show off their skills and promote themselves with a big, visible statement. They could also be hacking manufacturing facilities to amuse themselves by messing with unsuspecting and easy targets—not unusual for many hackers.

There are many possible motivations behind attacks on manufacturing industries. Unfortunately, there are also many security issues that make it easy for an attacker to do so.

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Source: Trend Micro