4 Common Cyber-Security Threats for Manufacturing Industries

4 Common Cyber-Security Threats for Manufacturing Industries

Manufacturing industries are responsible for the production of canned goods, beverages, textile products, and essentially anything that includes transforming goods. The products of these industries can single-handedly fill the majority of the needs of a supermarket. This is a very broad and crucial industry that has countless lives depending on them.

Since such a large number of people will be greatly affected; security for this industry means security for all of those people. Security can come in many forms each with its form of danger to restrain. 

New forms of danger are appearing as time passes. Back in the day, you might simply need to slap a lock on the door and the business would be safe. Today, a simple bolt-lock won’t just do it, protection in this day and age has a higher standard.

The standard involves physical protection, environmental protection, economic security, and cybersecurity. In this article, we’ll talk about cybersecurity due to the sudden increase of cyber threats. This article will help you to make sure your business and its customers are cyber-safe.

What is Cyber-Security?

It is thought of as protection for computers, phones, or any electronic device from cyber threats. Cyber threats are essentially any malicious attack, or programs, files, malware, that intend to cause harm.

You can learn more about the definition of cyber-security to gain a deeper understanding of what being cyber safe means. Cybersecurity doesn’t just come in the shape of antivirus, there are many ways to combat cyber threats.

Some cybersecurity measures involve physical interventions such as guarding computers or more modern solutions such as ICS (Industry Control Systems).

Preparing Security with NERC CIP Standards

Before we discuss the many threats to manufacturing industries, let’s discuss a few of the solutions. This segment is here so you don’t end up in a panic or have trouble sleeping because you don’t feel cyber-safe.

Cybersecurity as mentioned comes in many forms, but one of the best solutions is following proper standards. The NERC or the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) sets certain standards for security and maintenance.

They were formed in 1968 and have been at the forefront of maintenance for the electric power industry. You can view them as the original security team that has garnered decades of experience.

Following the standards of the NERC can secure industry and show that they are prepared for certain situations. The NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection has been constant over time and adjusting to the new risks and dangers that appear over time. These standards now cover certain areas like media, supply chain, and many more.

If you want to see if your business is cyber-safe then you can learn more about the NERC CIP Standards. Nothing beats security like a team of professionals who have been at it for decades.

Common Cybersecurity Threats for Manufacturing Industries

1. Phishing 

Phishing occurs when cybercriminals write convincing emails that trick employees into thinking that these are legit emails from legal entities. 

These emails may lead to a link that steals personal information or business records. The information can be used to steal money (in the case of debit card information) or for other malicious intent.

Smaller manufacturing companies are most prone to this one. That can be due to the lack of cybersecurity instruction for the employees. 

Phishing emails are not always easy to spot for an inexperienced user. Because they often have signature letterheads that resemble what the legitimate companies would have. 

Proper education and reminders will go a long way towards protecting your business from falling into phishing traps.

Spearhead Phishing 

This is almost the same as the aforementioned phishing. In this case, however, a specific target is locked in. While regular phishing is targeted towards a general audience, spearhead phishing is aimed at specific individuals. 

Spearhead phishing deserves a special mention because they are incredibly convincing. Instead of the regular scam email that says “dear valued customer” you might be greeted with your name or department.

This is an example of how much things can change with the addition of personal information. Something as simple as your name can make a scam much more like a legitimate email.

A spearhead email might make its way to a distracted employee. This email may be an inquiry on an invoice asking for a copy. If the distracted employee ends up responding then they might end up leaking business data along with client information. 

Some emails don’t just end with a hacker gaining new names and a phone number. Other emails may be a trap for hackers to gain access to the system. Access such as control of the assembly line or other physical processes.

Whether the cyber attack is from a random hacker that just wants money or from a competitor, staying cyber safe is crucial to the protection of your business and its customers. 

2. Identity Theft

Identity theft is most of the time perceived as the act of stealing people’s social security numbers so thieves can get into people’s credit cards. There are varying levels of identity theft but the quick summary is having a hacker pretending to be someone else to gain their access.

Although identity theft mainly targets the credit cards of unwitting people, it can also target manufacturing industries. Identity theft can allow hackers authorized access to the entire business. Letting them see data, business secrets, client information, and sometimes they don’t just look but they also take.

The possibilities for a hacker are endless once they get in, it’s all about stopping them from getting through your security.

3. Compromised Web Pages

An unprotected industrial company could have its website compromised. When this happens, hackers will have the opportunity to install dangerous files into certain web pages. Setting a trap for your business and prospects interested in your business.

Such a cyberattack hurts your business on multiple fronts, the business itself, current customers, and even future customers. 

4. Spam Messages

Spam messages are probably one of the most common cyber threats that people experience. These can range from fake business propositions to invitations. Overall, the most risk they usually have is being annoying. On the other hand, spam messages targeted at businesses tend to be on another level.

As reported by Dunlop Industrial plant in South Africa, people at the IT Department had to manually sort through about 12,000 spam messages per day. This would require a minimum of 90 minutes of their time. 

But why can’t companies just decide to let spam messages be? These spam messages are traps, they may be smaller in comparison to other cyber threats but they are a threat nonetheless. 

Living in a house with a bunch of mousetraps that barely pose a threat isn’t ideal. Cleaning up these spam messages lets your business have a more work-centered environment.

How Can Manufacturing Companies Mitigate The Risk?

We’ve talked about some of the most common threats cyber attacks can have on manufacturing companies. The question that remains centers on mitigating the risk. Below are some suggestions on how to keep your database secure. 

Professionals

Hiring a professional team to manage cybersecurity can ensure a business’s safety. They can handle the ins and outs of cybersecurity. Allowing you to focus on the other aspects of managing a business. 

There are many methods to mitigate the risk of a cyber threat, but a professional team can do wonders. Following a team like the NERC could be the determiner between your safety or a cyber breach. They would also be able to take care of the following methods to mitigate the risks of a cyberattack.

Education

Having a dedicated department to cybersecurity is a good call. But if all your employees could spot spam and phishing emails, this could drastically boost your cybersecurity. Some may consider this unnecessary, but when it comes to a business’s safety, you don’t want much to be left up to chance.

Software and Hardware

A professional team would probably manage this area as well but it still deserves a mention. Investing in new software and hardware is like directly investing in a new lock for the door. Newer technology is usually harder to hack and other than staying safe it may help your business become more efficient

Key Takeaways

Taking care of a business is no walk in the park. You need to handle market surges, dips in the economy, new trends, and laws and need to watch out for the competition. It’s hard to manage all of these areas at once. A breach in security would make managing a business close to impossible.

You can prevent these threats by keeping watch for common cyber threats and taking action accordingly. Safety in the manufacturing industry means safety for the business and its customers. This isn’t an area where you want to be caught lacking.

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