The Industrial Cybersecurity Responsibility: Robots Vulnerable To Hacking

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Industrial cybersecurity for the modern manufacturer is something that can not be underestimated. As devices, tools and industrial robots begin getting connected to the IoT, it leaves them vulnerable to malicious cybercriminals. When this threat first began rearing its head throughout the manufacturing industry, the cause for concern was loss of data or digital vandalism. Mostly just a nuisance, these cyber threats were rarely seen as life-threatening. However now as the modern manufacturing industry begins connecting every aspect of their facility and operations to the internet, these attacks could now pose a serious safety risk. Having a look at these Cybersecurity Statistics for instance, can make one realize just how bad of an impact can be caused to businesses by cyber-attacks.

Trend Micro and Italy-based Politecnico di Milano released a report that sheds light on a largely overlooked fact, more than 80,000 industrial routers are exposed to public internet. This means hackers have easy access to infiltrate a manufacturer’s production line filled with industrial robots. Industrial robotic arms are usually isolated from human workers behind large cages however when maintenance is performed, human employees need to get up close with these powerful machines. A hacker may be able to gain control of a robotic arm during maintenance and control every movement, this could cause a devastating injury or even be fatal.

“As connected devices have continued to become more widespread in both industrial and consumer spaces, it is clear that cybersecurity has widely been considered a secondary priority,” Carl Herberger, VP of Security at Radware said. He continues to explain, “The IoT movement has pushed companies to rapidly create connected devices, often with little to no security, leaving huge loopholes for malicious hackers.”

Isolated robotic arms aren’t the only internet connected robot manufacturers will need to worry about. Human employees are beginning to work even more closely with industrial robots. Collaborative robots, machines that can work alongside human employees, are making their way to the shop floor in droves. These highly capable machines are able to track human movements and avoid a collision. If a hacker can make their way into one of these collaborative robots, the results could be devastating.

As manufacturers and other industrial sectors work to keep up with the rapid growth in connected devices, cybersecurity can no longer be an afterthought. These incredibly useful, but inherently dangerous connected robots can pose a serious threat to the human workforce. The solution is to consider cybersecurity before developing more connected industrial machinery. Security needs to be at the forefront of the development process but also manufacturers need to take control of their cybersecurity efforts as well.

Tips To Keep Manufacturer’s Protected From Cyber Attacks

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