Cyber Attacks and the Real-World Impact

There has been a lot of attention toward strengthening manufacturers cyber security efforts as attacks are on the rise. Manufacturers are much more vulnerable than they once were because of the vast amount of control systems that are directly or indirectly connected to the internet. Even internal servers aren’t safe from sophisticated cyber criminals. More than just your private data is at risk and a recent cyber attack on a shipping company shows how vulnerable businesses truly have become.

Pirates were on sea long before the idea of pirating digital data has been around, but now these seaborne pirates are quickly taking to the web to streamline their criminal activity. A Verizon security report has just revealed that pirates hacked into a shipping company’s management system. Not only was their private data available to these criminals, the pirates used the information they found to learn which ships were worth boarding. Not only did they know which ships were carrying precious cargo and where they are located, they knew exactly which crates they had to go after first. Dramatically reducing their chances of facing resistance and cutting down the time they needed to spend on the ship.

These attacks weren’t particularly sophisticated, and the lack of encryption made it easy to trace their activities. Also, they didn’t have the necessary skills to compromise the systems as much as they wanted. Yet this failure could offer these pirates a lesson in hacking they can use to ensure their plans are not foiled a second time.

This event is a testament to the amount of damage cyber attacks can have on your physical business. Not only can hackers steel private information or disrupt business by shutting down computer systems, they can use it to gain access to vital systems and become much more than an annoyance.

In 2014, a German steel plant was hacked and their furnace controls were taken over by a hacker. The company could not shutdown their furnace which caused massive damage to the plant. Through an advanced targeted email scam, these hackers gained access to key personnel’s log in credentials. Using the log in information, the hackers had total control over this vital system. No injuries were reported but it could have been much worse.

Manufacturers, supply chains, power plants, can all be severely damaged by a sophisticated cyber attack. Even a simple understanding on how to protect yourself and your business from cyber threats can drastically reduce the chance of a becoming a victim. All employees must meet a basic understanding of how cyber criminals can gain access to important private information. It could be as simple as not opening or clicking a link from a questionable email address. Without a basic understanding on how these criminals gain access to private data, there will be no stopping them. Here are 4 tips to protect you from cyber attacks:

Just from these two examples it becomes clear, cyber security is something that cannot be ignored any longer. Not only are manufacturers at risk, the entire supply chain can be poached and slowed down by cyber criminals looking to profit on the work of others. It’s time to get serious about cyber security because next time these pirates could be hacking your carrier and it could be your products at risk. Or worse, next time a manufacturing facility is attacked not only will the facility be damaged, employees lives could be at risk as well.