Industry Analysis

Why Cybersecurity in Manufacturing Environments is Becoming a Growing Concern


Cybersecurity in manufacturing environments is becoming a growing concern. The following insights present a case in supporting the hypothesis that cybersecurity is a higher concern in manufacturing environments.

1. Recent Cyberattacks

  • Recent cyberattacks have caused some serious damage to manufacturing companies making it more of a concern to the manufacturing industry. The more widely known attacks include Wannacry in Taiwan and NotPetya in Ukraine, however, companies have been infected in other parts of the world as well.
  • A Boeing production plant, in South Carolina, was recently hit by the renowned Wannacry malware, which could potentially spread to airplane software and caused operational interruption. The chief engineer at the company had to send a company-wide memo to alert operations outside that facility.
  • According to a recent report by Artemis, 60% of its manufacturing clients were hit by an attack relating to Wannacry during the last 6 months.

2. Espionage

  • Industrial espionage is defined as the theft of trade secrets, which may then be sold to a competitor. It may be characterized by the theft of intellectual property, e.g. “manufacturing processes, chemical formulas, recipes, techniques or ideas.”
  • The manufacturing industry faced more cases of cyber-espionage (27.4%) than any other industry worldwide in 2014.
  • Examples of industrial espionage in the manufacturing industry include the attack on Gillette and Avery Dennison.

3. Not Just for Money

  • Cyberattacks are no longer being conducted only for financial gains. They have recently played roles in attacking the economies of countries by attacking their manufacturing industries.
  • Examples of such instances include the launch of Wannacry by North Korea and NotPetya by Russia (against Ukraine). These may be used as political campaigns against a given country.
  • The national security adviser to Trump administration attributed responsibility for the launch of Wannacry to North Korea.

4. The Shift to Digital

  • The manufacturing industry, like many others, is experiencing an increasing need to shift processes to digital. For example, the use of “networking machinery along with computers, using CAD/CAM data files, integrating machine-learning software, and let’s not forget introducing Industry 4.0 devices.”
  • This shift is creating more opportunities for hackers, particularly with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0.

5. The Easy-er Target

  • The manufacturing industry has become an easier target for hackers as many other industries, especially the banking and financial industries, are becoming increasingly out-of-reach for hackers with the development and implementation of improved cybersecurity frameworks.

Research Strategy

We started our research by investigating whether cybersecurity is becoming an increasing risk for the manufacturing industry. With manufacturing industries being reported as focusing on cybersecurity and many of them experiencing large cyberattacks during recent times, we have provided several arguments that support the hypothesis that cybersecurity is a higher concern in manufacturing environments than many other industries.

Glenn is the Lead Operations Research Analyst at Simple Manifestation with experience in research, statistical data analysis and interview techniques. A holder of degree in Economics. A true specialist in quantitative and qualitative research.

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