Manufacturing has benefited from digitalization, but with increased digital footprints comes the increased risks of cyberattacks. The sector has been the most commonly affected industry by cyberattacks for the second year in a row. The number of ransomware attacks on industrial infrastructure more than doubled in 2022 alone, potentially having a systemic effect on supply deliveries. Cyberattacks can disrupt industries and supply chains, leading to losses in revenue and productivity that can harm a company’s reputation. 

The Importance of Manufacturing

The manufacturing sector includes many societally essential industries. Consumer products, electronics, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and heavy industries, all contribute to global circular economies in this way.

The Importance of Cyber Resilience

The manufacturing industry must become cyber resilient to protect itself from the evolving threat landscape and benefit from digitization. Cyber resilience differs from cybersecurity because its capabilities continue to work even after an attacker has breached a network’s security perimeter to compromise cyber assets.

For organizations, an investment in cyber resilience strengthens and improves their ability to withstand attacks and ultimately prevents interruptions and revenue losses. It also benefits society at large. Businesses that manage these infrastructures know that the closure of their activities may affect the entire region in which they are located.

Roadmap to Cyber Resilience

The development of cyber resilience requires ongoing work. It is a continuous process because the threat landscape and technological advancements constantly evolve. Levels of awareness have increased because of recent prominent attacks and breaches.

First, businesses need to gain a better understanding of their systems. Building resilience begins with knowledge of operations, risks, and solutions. Owners and operators of these systems must create high-fidelity baselines for the network’s devices and recognize even minor behavioral anomalies to achieve adequate visibility. Such minute adjustments may portend dangers and create dangerous circumstances.

Maintaining visibility and understanding of the critical IT and OT ecosystems is crucial for containing cyberattacks against these systems. History teaches us that attackers often target the IT systems and then they move laterally into the OT domain to disrupt vital operations. The perception that IT and OT systems are air-gapped is mistaken and may lead to wrong decision-making.

The second step is for businesses to adopt a zero-trust philosophy and architecture. Compared to now, networks were much less connected when most industrial OT systems were created. However, OT and IT systems are rapidly converging in the digital age. Organizations can switch from a “trust but verify” mentality to a “verify first” strategy to meet the shifting situation. Threat actors are getting better at abusing trust. Defense-in-depth tactics and proactive threat detection can help assure quick threat detection and containment to stop lateral movement and lessen the damage of an attack.

Read the full article by FORTRA here.


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