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Manufacturing leads in cyberattacks for a third straight year, so what are some defenses?

May 30, 2024
An overwhelming majority of intrusions could have been mitigated with patching, multifactor authentication or least-privilege principles, an IBM study has found.

Manufacturing facilities are an important part of the U.S. economy, and they produce some of our most iconic brands. But an increasing amount of cybercrime is introducing more risk to the industrial sector, according to new research that IBM's Michelle Alvarez wrote about this week for Smart Industry’s sister brand, IndustryWeek.

See also: Maximum security? How multifactor authentication is being defeated

For the third year in a row, the IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Report ranked manufacturing as the most-attacked industry by cybercriminals. The sector’s low tolerance for downtime has historically made it an attractive target for cybercriminals seeking to apply pressure for financial gains. Alvarez is on the Strategic Threat Analysis team at IBM that produced the report.

See also: Protecting OT data under persistent threat from ransomware

The IBM intelligence report found that last year, manufacturers made up more than 25% of security incidents, with malware attacks—primarily ransomware—making up most of them. In the constantly shifting threat landscape, this trend calls for security fundamentals to remain an essential component of manufacturers’ security strategy.

Fundamentals such as patching, multifactor authentication or least privilege principles can deter 85% of incidents, the report found.

See Alvarez’s full write-up on the IBM report over at IndustryWeek.

About the Author

Scott Achelpohl

I've come to Smart Industry after stints in business-to-business journalism covering U.S. trucking and transportation for FleetOwner, a sister website and magazine of SI’s at Endeavor Business Media, and branches of the U.S. military for Navy League of the United States. I'm a graduate of the University of Kansas and the William Allen White School of Journalism with many years of media experience inside and outside B2B journalism. I'm a wordsmith by nature, and I edit Smart Industry and report and write all kinds of news and interactive media on the digital transformation of manufacturing.