Study Says Manufacturing Firms are Learning Cyber Security the Hard Way

When it comes to cyber attacks, we know that the healthcare sector and government agencies are some of the top targets. But what about the manufacturing sector, especially as more plants are using Smart/IOT technology?

Trend Micro commissioned independent research specialist Vanson Bourne to conduct an on-line survey with 500 IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) professionals in the United States, Germany and Japan. The results of the study found that over three-fifths (61%) of manufacturers have experienced cyber incidents, with most (75%) of them suffering production losses as a result. More than two-fifths (43%) said outages lasted more than four days.

The results speak to a number of issues in the manufacturing sector. OT groups struggle with implementing security, especially when it comes to people and process. OT groups are also challenged by a lack of visibility into assets and associated cyber threats, and a lack of set goals for cybersecurity maturity.

It shows a need for IT and OT groups to work more closely on cyber security, but sadly it doesn’t seem to be the case.  William Malik, vice president of infrastructure strategies at Trend Micro, told Dark Reading that only 12% of It and OT groups are working together. 

As to why manufacturing seems to be at such a great risk, Akihiko Omikawa, executive vice president of IoT security for Trend Micro, said in a press release: “Manufacturing organizations around the world are doubling down on digital transformation to drive smart factory improvements. The gap in IT and OT cyber security awareness creates the imbalance between people, process and technology, and it gives bad guys a chance to attack.”

So, what can you do to improve cyber security in your manufacturing plant? Trend Micro recommends a three-step technical approach to securing “smart factories” and keep operations running:

  1. Prevention by reducing intrusion risks at data exchange points like the network and DMZ. These risks could include USB storage devices, laptops brought into a factory by third parties, and IoT gateways.
  2. Detection by spotting anomalous network behavior like Command & Control (C&C) communication and multiple log-in failures. The earlier the detection, the sooner attacks can be stopped with minimal impact on the organization.
  3. Persistence is crucial to protect smart factories from any threat that has evaded prevention and detection stages. Trend Micro TXOne Network’s industrial network and endpoint security solutions are purpose-built for OT environments. They work at a wide range of temperatures and are easy to use with minimal performance impact.

If you need help with securing your manufacturing operations, contact Uzado today.