Cyberrisks Mount: Preventive Measures for Manufacturers

Cyberrisks Mount: Preventive Measures for Manufacturers

Cyberattacks are on the rise. Manufacturers who rely on automation, robotics and connected networks are especially vulnerable. Here’s what you can do to protect your business against ransomware and other attacks from criminals using the Internet of Things.

Know Your Risks

Last December, hackers caused a blackout in the Ukraine by breaching the control system for a power grid. This attack didn’t require sophisticated tools; rather, the hackers used malware that could be purchased on the black market to engage in spear phishing. This is a type of email phishing campaign that targets multiple people at an organization using inside information that makes the hacker’s inquiry look legitimate.

Owners and managers fear data breaches — and hackers often use that fear to cripple organizations through ransomware. This is a type of malware that’s installed on a computer or network without the user’s consent that relinquishes control back to management only if they agree to pay ransom to the malware operators. Once the money is paid, the hackers promise to remove the restrictions.

Cyberattacks can harm a manufacturer or distributor by causing safety issues, negative publicity, lost productivity, and compromised personal and corporate data. The average cost of a data breach in the United States is now more than $7 million, according to a 2016 study published by independent research group The Ponemon Institute.

Safeguard Your Operations

How can you reduce cyberrisks? Employees are a manufacturer’s first line of defense against hackers, but they can also be a liability if they’re not vigilant and knowledgeable about cyberthreats. In fact, the latest Ponemon study found that 23% of breaches were caused by negligent employees. So, it’s critical to provide training about the latest scams and encourage employees to report suspicious emails immediately to the information technology department.

Many hackers look for easy targets — like thieves target houses with unlocked doors and windows to break into — so even the simplest security measure will deter some cyberbreaches. For example, you can use inexpensive, over-the- counter encryption software and phishing filters to make it harder for hackers to get inside your network.

Consider a Cybersecurity Risk Assessment

Consider taking a significant step in safeguarding your cyber assets by engaging a third-party to perform an assessment of your current cybersecurity practices. Such an assessment will provide senior management and your board of directors with valuable information, insight and recommendations into the following areas:

  • Your organization’s overall cybersecurity preparedness
  • The degree to which your current cybersecurity program meets applicable regulatory compliance standards
  • The critical risks associated with your current technology
  • Justification for future IT and security investments
  • The need to establish and/or refine your risk management strategies

Minimize Losses

Research suggests the global cost of cybercrime will reach $2 trillion by 2019, with the average cost per breach at the organization level being approximately $7 million in the United States. To minimize losses should a breach occur, you should consider purchasing cyber insurance products to cover direct losses from breaches and the costs of responding to them. Your traditional business liability policy probably doesn’t include such coverage.

To discuss how MFA can help your organization enhance its cybersecurity preparedness, contact us today.

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