Various industries have fallen victim to phishing globally, and the manufacturing sector is no exception due to decentralized IT infrastructure and fragmented controls, besides many other reasons. Since the beginning of 2020, cyber intruders have exploited several manufacturing units’ vulnerabilities and used them for financial benefits and brand impersonation. Moreover, the lower degree of cybersecurity, policy enforcement, and lack of centralized visibility makes the task easier for malicious actors.
Once the target opens a spoofed website or email attachment, the threat actors compromise the victim’s browser settings and modify them without their knowledge and use the data available for monetary gains or resell it on the dark web. Due to evolving cyberattacks, cybersecurity professionals are continually looking for anti-phishing services and ransomware protection solutions.
Why Is The Manufacturing Industry Vulnerable?
The manufacturing industry is highly vulnerable to phishing and other cybersecurity vulnerabilities due to outdated systems and policies. The below section discusses such loopholes in detail.
- Legacy Equipment: The devices used in the manufacturing industry are usually old and not designed to maximize security. It makes the work easier for cyber attackers, and they do not require much effort for hacking into the systems.
- Different IT Infrastructure: Manufacturing units are located in separate locations, and each site may use different sets of technologies that differ in hardware and software. It causes the systems to be fragmented, and a single security framework will not apply to all.
- Sizeable Financial Gain: The manufacturing industry is vast and contains a considerable amount of confidential employee information and other sensitive data. Such data related to financial institutions, credit cards, bank details, and social security numbers can be sold or used for compromising other networks.
- Industrial Espionage: Compromising the manufacturing industry’s network can take place over time and allow malicious actors to modify the network information and ask for ransom in return for decrypting the data. Such attacks can also affect the suppliers and clients related to the industry and cause panic among the manufacturing units’ stakeholders.
- Lack Of Centralized Visibility: Security and data monitoring efficiency will only be at its full potential if one can view data flow from a single platform. Since data flow is not integrated due to a fragmented structure, there are usually complexities and hidden loopholes, which the attackers exploit.
- No General Policies: Since the entire framework is vast and the different components are separated from each other, a single security framework will not be applicable. The rules and regulations designed for one unit in a particular location may not apply to another, which causes further sophistication while developing a cybersecurity framework.
- Less Secure Encryption Techniques: Manufacturing industries mainly deal with production and distribution and are not concerned directly with cybersecurity. Malicious actors utilize such vulnerabilities. These sectors may not have the workforce to implement complex encryption techniques and may not know how to prevent phishing.
How Are Manufacturing Industries Attacked?
The majority of phishing based attacks in manufacturing industries are implemented using web-based malware downloads that contain trojans and other malicious content. The malware further searches the target’s system for vulnerabilities and transfers such information to the remote attacker. Using the collected sensitive data, malicious actors may demand ransom from the company or sell it to others.
How To Be Safe From Phishing Attacks?
Phishing attacks have been a headache for security professionals as it is a form of social engineering technique that will keep evolving as technology grows. Here are some common tips and strategies to be cyber safe from modern phishing attacks.
- Educating Staff: The best method is to conduct awareness sessions and provide simulation training for the manufacturing industry employees. Moreover, staff should also be trained on the latest attack strategies and be aware of identifying malware and reporting it promptly.
- Using Cybersecurity Solutions: There are various in-built and customized security solutions available, customizable as per the manufacturing industry’s needs. Such anti-phishing services and ransomware prevention solutions also make the task easier for employees by identifying common loopholes and malware more efficiently.
- Performing Security Checks: Some phishing attacks may take more time to accomplish their malicious missions fully. Hence, if organizations perform regular security checks, they might identify such breaches at the initial stage and employ relevant mitigation measures.
- Using Encryption: Using high-level encryption makes the data flow across various units safer and more efficient across the organization. Such encryptions also make the decryption process more challenging for threat actors. Different encryption and decryption techniques can be used based on the amount of data and transferring medium.
- Leveraging Firewalls: The majority of cyberattacks originate from external sources, and using a firewall will allow the manufacturing industry to be secure to an extent. Firewalls will identify vulnerabilities and malware that employees cannot identify manually.
- Implementing Multi-layered Security: instead of using a single cybersecurity framework, a multi-layered system ensures that the security used is at its full potential. Such systems will use a combination of password-based and human and device-based authentication techniques.
Phishing is one technique that cyber attackers use worldwide. Due to the ease of implementation and high success rate, even novice attackers use phishing to target small businesses especially.
The manufacturing industry has been one of the most affected by such attacks due to a lack of skilled cybersecurity resources. To keep malicious actors at bay, one must religiously adopt phishing-prevention tips, as mentioned above, along with a robust security solution for all-round protection.