Today, cyberattacks are a common threat for companies in all industries. Historically, such dangers were more prevalent against financial firms, retailers and healthcare facilities. However, with manufacturing operations now becoming increasingly reliant on technology and data, companies in this field have joined the ranks of victims targeted by cyberattacks.

As a result, all enterprises in the manufacturing sector must be aware of threats they are facing and take appropriate measures. Read on for a guide on cybersecurity for the industry.


Phishing attacks

This type of cyberattack involves fooling the recipient of a text or email into downloading malware, imparting confidential information or opening a malicious link. Attacks are ultimately designed with three aims – stealing data, corrupting systems or providing threat operators with an access point into a firm’s secure network.

Messages typically appear to be sent from a trusted partner or from inside the company itself. Spear phishing messages are meticulously created, employing the exact imagery and terminology to appear authentic.

Among the most prevalent cyber threats, around 85% of the cyberattacks against manufacturing firms employ phishing. If a hacker gains entry they can move laterally unnoticed in order to steal data, spy on company transactions or cause disruption.

Manufacturing businesses are often more vulnerable to this type of attack because of a long supply chain that includes many different organisations, offering more points of access for attackers.

Giving employees cybersecurity training is a good way of teaching them how to spot phishing emails and thus not fall victim to them, whilst informing them about an array of other threats.

Intellectual Property (IP) theft

A manufacturing firm’s IP is what makes it stand out from its competitors. As a result, this data is among the most priceless assets for a manufacturer and when it is stolen, the consequences can be disastrous. One of the costliest cyberattacks, IP theft can be performed by outside entities seeking to exfiltrate trade secrets and other sensitive content, but can also be conducted by employees and inside traders looking to earn quick money by stealing and selling company information.

Threat operators gain network access via phishing, social engineering and critical system vulnerabilities that have been left unpatched. IP theft can allow a manufacturing firm’s competition to get the jump on them with developing new technologies, enabling them to compete for possible sales without ever investing in research and development.

IP theft instances are notoriously hard to prove. As a result, every effort must be taken to prevent the chance of theft.

Securing networks and data is the best methods of cybersecurity to employ, however additional cybersecurity training for employees on spotting threats is a great way to boost the organisation’s overall cybersecurity, stopping harm before it comes too close.

Data spills

Data leaked accidentally can impact companies just as much as a concerted attack. A data spill may occur when an email containing sensitive information is sent to the wrong recipient or when data storage devices are stolen or lost.

The data that a manufacturer stores will vary but can include customer, partner and employee details, confidential plans and agreements and even design blueprints. To avoid leaks, measures should be taken that negate human error or information and devices containing data being shared accidentally or stolen.

Robust and clear cybersecurity policies on data, for example on emails, is a good way of making sure that actions that could involve sensitive data are double checked and verified before they are completed.

Ransomware attacks

The manufacturing sector is now under increasing threat from ransomware attacks. This type of attack works by hackers encrypting files and systems on a network, rendering them unusable to their owners. Next, hackers demand a ransom in return for the decryption key, to unlock the critical data.

Ransomware attacks are effective against manufacturers due to the time-sensitive nature of the industry. Time is money, often leaving manufacturers with no choice but to pay ransoms or suffer massive losses and business due to delays.

The manufacturing sector is highly susceptible to ransomware, due to the abundant use of computer-aided design. Access to these data files is necessary for manufacturing processes to proceed, so rendering them unusable can cripple a firm.

The best cybersecurity measures to protect from cybersecurity attacks are to encrypt data and regularly backup data. Encrypting data means that even if ransomware does get its hands on it, the data is useless as it can only be decrypted by the intended people. Backups also mean that if data is lost, a recent version of it can be recovered, minimising the damage by a ransomware attack.

Supply Chain Attacks

This type of attack occurs when an attacker targets a manufacturing firm’s suppliers or partners. It is conducted via network compromise, phishing or man-in-the-middle attacks. Once entry has been gained, attackers can plant malware, steal data or just disrupt the supply chain to delay or entirely halt production.

Manufacturing firms are susceptible to such attacks due to the vast number of vulnerable endpoints across a vast network of interconnected suppliers.

Cybersecurity: what can manufacturers do to improve their stance and what measures can be adopted?

At Galaxkey, we have developed cybersecurity options to prevent the above attacks. Deploying our end-to-end encryption can allow you to safeguard all data files from blueprints and other IP to records kept on staff, partners and suppliers containing personal information. Encryption can also be added to email communications and file transfers. Our encryption puts you in control of securing your data so you can make sure only trusted individuals can access confidential information.

As a result, whether an attacker invades your network, a data drive is lost or stolen or an employee shares a confidential email or file accidentally or with malice, no company data will ever be compromised. We also provide electronic document signing, allowing you to secure any important exchanges like contract and agreements and keep them free from prying eyes.

To explore our solutions today, contact Galaxkey for a free two-week trial.