CPA & Business Advisory Blog

Cybersecurity

Why Manufacturers Should Be Aware of New Cybersecurity Threats

This article is published by Skoda Minotti’s Manufacturing & Distribution Group.

Due to emerging advances in technology, the manufacturing sector is now one of the most frequently hacked industries, second only to health care.

Manufacturers are increasingly using the cloud and data analytics to make improvements to their infrastructure and processes, as well as better meet the needs of their customers. As they tap into exciting new technology, manufacturers unfortunately become more vulnerable to large attacks from cyber hackers.

Where are the Risks?

The Internet of Things (IoT), the connection of devices to the internet or to each other, is making it possible for manufactures to run more efficient operations at a faster speed. Unfortunately, IoT is also providing hackers more opportunities to create specific “botnets” in which malware-infected computers attack a website to attack IoT devices used in manufacturing.

Specifically, a botnet is a collection of internet-connected devices, which may include servers, personal computers, mobile devices and IoT devices, that are infected and controlled by a common type of malware. The problem is that manufacturers and other users are typically unaware of a botnet infecting their system.

Most products are now manufactured with machine-to-machine and sensor data communication so that any inefficiencies can be detected in the manufacturing process. However, these IoT tools are being exploited as having security vulnerabilities in which cyber attackers are hacking in and disrupting companies’ manufacturing processes, leading to defective products, downtime and product recalls.

For example: a hacker can break into a company’s network and slightly change a machine’s welding conditions in any part of a car manufacturing process so that two pieces will not be joined as firmly as required. As a result, the car is less safe and will most likely be subject to recall, but the initial hack would go unnoticed until after the fact.

Defending Against Hackers

Businesses in all sectors are reacting to increased cyber threats by investing in cyber defenses at an estimated $1 trillion globally over the next five years. Going forward, manufacturers may have to change their mindset about security while embracing the very technology that will help them expand their operations.

Here are a few key ways to mitigate risk for your operations:

  • Identify all of your company’s assets to better understand where threats are likely to come from. Penetration testing and risk assessment services can help you manage this process.
  • Conduct vulnerability scanning on a regular basis, and make sure updates and patches are applied as soon as they are released—this can help prevent hackers from exploiting new vulnerabilities.
  • Implement access control measures, even with freshly updated devices. By doing so, you can help prevent hackers from accessing other parts of your system if one component is compromised.

According to a recent report, the cost of cybercrime to business is set to reach $6 trillion annually. Malware has spread from PCs and laptops to smartphones and mobile devices, and ransomware has reached epidemic proportions. By implementing cybersecurity practices now, you may help prevent costly threats to your business down the road.

Skoda Minotti’s Manufacturing Industry Group can help your company design and implement systems to improve your manufacturing operations. Our Risk Advisory Services Group can help you identify cybersecurity threats and implement an effective cybersecurity management program. For help finding the best approach for your business, contact Michael Knight, CPA, at 440-449-6800 or mknight@skodaminotti.com.

Manufacturing Survey Report

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