CTC’s April 2019 Threat Report

Today’s manufacturers must navigate a demanding and highly competitive industry. And absent any other complications, many of them likely welcome the opportunity to innovate their way to success.

Unfortunately, there are other complications. Specifically: cyber threats.  

Manufacturing is the second most targeted industry based on the number of reported cyber attacks according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Only healthcare reports more.)

Small and medium-sized manufacturers are especially vulnerable since cybercriminals consider them more vulnerable than large manufacturers presumably with more resources at their disposal to protect their networks.

Industry Giant Closes Plants After Cyber Attack

Bigger doesn’t always mean better, however. Aluminum producing industry giant Norsk Hydro recently fell prey to what Hacker News describes as “a relatively new strain of ransomware malware, known as LockerGoga ….” The malware encrypts files on computers and demands a ransom to unlock them. The assault left the company’s network unusable, forcing the temporary closure of plants around the world.

Such “ransomware” is now big business for bad actors; FBI estimates put the annual global ransomware market at approximately $1 billion.

“Despite this constant news about the growing cyber threats in the industry, many manufacturers are falling short with their cybersecurity initiatives and in updating their technology infrastructure, and this is what can leave their environment vulnerable to an attack,” writes an IT expert for the Grand Rapids Business Journal.

Every enterprise today needs to keep a close watch over costs nowadays. Doing so at the expense of strong IT security, though, can have serious ramifications — not only for the budget but also for the continuation of the organization itself.

Threats Near and Far

Underscoring the urgency is the fact that not every attack comes from a stranger in a faraway land.

A lone disgruntled former employee stole login credentials for a British company’s Amazon Web Services servers. He then deleted a trove of data, much of which the company has been unable to recover. As a result, it’s lost large vendor contracts to the tune of roughly $700,000. (The convicted employee recently received a two-year prison sentence.)

For the agency that suffered such a blow, few attacks could seem bigger.

Janet Napolitano, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, is warning anyone willing to listen about the dangers that cybercriminals pose to the U.S. and even the world.

“We have so many red flags in the cyber world right now,” she said during an interview with NPR. “And what I’m concerned about is that we really could experience a cyber-cause, 9/11-style event where you would have mass shut down — maybe not just in one community or two communities, but many communities at the same time. We need to get ahead of that now. This needs to be a top priority from a security standpoint.”

Important Next Steps

When it comes to cyber security, every step you take toward a comprehensive plan that protects your enterprise’s network, IP, and associates is more important than the last. It’s an effort that, in a world undergoing a digital revolution, will never end. That doesn’t mean that it must be onerous, however, or even significantly impactful from a budgetary perspective.

At CTC Technologies, we can show you how to shore up your current security measures so they can withstand the malware — and disgruntled former employees — of today, tomorrow, and in the years to come. All it takes to get started is a moment of your time.