Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

8/8/2018
10:30 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Manufacturing Industry Experiencing Higher Incidence of Cyberattacks

New report reveals the natural consequences of ignoring the attendant risks of industrial IoT and Industry 4.0.

The rapid convergence of enterprise IT and operational technology networks in manufacturing organizations has definitely caught the eyes of cyberattackers. According to a new report out today, manufacturing companies have started experiencing elevated rates of cyber reconnaissance and lateral movement from attackers taking advantage of the growing connectivity within the industry. 

Developed by threat hunting firm Vectra, the "2018 Spotlight Report on Manufacturing" features data from a broader study of hundreds of enterprises across eight other industries. It shows that even though organizations in retail, financial services, and healthcare industries are more likely to experience reportable breaches involving personally identifiable information, manufacturing organizations outpace them in other areas of risk. 

For example, the manufacturing industry is subject to a higher-than-usual volume of malicious internal behaviors, which points to attackers likely already having found footholds inside of these networks. In particular, during the first half of 2018 manufacturing firms had the highest level of reconnaissance activity per 10,000 machines of any other industry. This kind of behavior typically shows that attackers are mapping out the network looking for critical assets. Similarly, manufacturing was in the top three industries most impacted by malicious lateral movement across its networks.

All of these metrics indicate a heightened level of risk to manufacturing's bread-and-butter: uninterrupted operations and well-guarded intellectual property. According to the "2018 Verizon Data Breach Industry Report," 47% of breaches in manufacturing are motivated by cyber espionage. 

Experts chalk up the increased risk to the industry's mass deployment of industrial Internet of Things (IoT) devices and the shift to what some tech pundits call Industry 4.0. As analysts at McKinsey, Deloitte, and others explain, we're in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution. The first started with steam-powered machines. The second came with the advent of electricity. The third occurred with the first programmable controllers. And now the fourth is occurring with increased connectivity, automation, and data-driven adaptivity of operation systems across manufacturing plants. Industry 4.0 delivers ubiquitous production and control to the business, but it also increases the risk of disruption by cyberattackers if automated and connected systems aren't sufficiently protected. 

Unfortunately the industry's paradigms around protecting systems hasn't caught up with the changing realities of its attack surface. For example, the Vectra report explains how manufacturers traditionally used customized and proprietary protocols for connecting systems on the factory floor. That in and of itself kept the bar of entry for cybercriminals pretty high. But that trend is changing as more IoT devices have utilized standardized protocols.

"The conversion from proprietary protocols to standard protocols makes it easier to infiltrate networks to spy, spread, and steal," the report states. 

Additionally, manufacturers tend not to implement strong security access controls on certain systems for fear of interrupting the flow of lean production lines. All of this is adding up to heightened levels of risk.

"The interconnectedness of Industry 4.0-driven operations has created a massive attack surface for cybercriminals to exploit," says Chris Morales, head of security analytics at Vectra.

Related Content:

 

Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Microsoft Patches Wormable RCE Vulns in Remote Desktop Services
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/13/2019
The Mainframe Is Seeing a Resurgence. Is Security Keeping Pace?
Ray Overby, Co-Founder & President at Key Resources, Inc.,  8/15/2019
GitHub Named in Capital One Breach Lawsuit
Dark Reading Staff 8/14/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-15224
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-19
The rest-client gem 1.6.13 for Ruby, as distributed on RubyGems.org, included a code-execution backdoor inserted by a third party.
CVE-2019-15225
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-19
In Envoy through 1.11.1, users may configure a route to match incoming path headers via the libstdc++ regular expression implementation. A remote attacker may send a request with a very long URI to result in a denial of service (memory consumption). This is a related issue to CVE-2019-14993.
CVE-2019-15223
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-19
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel before 5.1.8. There is a NULL pointer dereference caused by a malicious USB device in the sound/usb/line6/driver.c driver.
CVE-2019-15211
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-19
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel before 5.2.6. There is a use-after-free caused by a malicious USB device in the drivers/media/v4l2-core/v4l2-dev.c driver because drivers/media/radio/radio-raremono.c does not properly allocate memory.
CVE-2019-15212
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-19
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel before 5.1.8. There is a double-free caused by a malicious USB device in the drivers/usb/misc/rio500.c driver.