The manufacturing industry is failing to protect itself from cybercrime, according to MSP – the leading manufacturer of stampings and springs.

With research showing the manufacturing industry faced almost one in four of the cyberattacks in any industry, MSP is urging manufacturers to start putting cybersecurity at the top of their agendas both for themselves and their upstream customers.

Neil Matthews, Managing Director at MSP comments, “While cybersecurity affects every company in all industries, the manufacturing industry overall is particularly vulnerable and prone to cyberattacks and can face considerable challenges such as the theft of intellectual property.”

“Malware and ransomware attacks are increasingly using sophisticated new tricks to infiltrate and exploit weaknesses. These attacks can result in a loss of competitive advantage, denial of access, or damage to operational systems including production facilities. Significantly, it can also negatively impact a manufacturer’s trading reputation, leading to a loss of customers or suppliers.”

By the end of 2021, cyberattacks cost the global economy an estimated $6 trillion, which would reportedly escalate to $10.5 trillion by 2025.

Neil noted, “For the first time in five years, the manufacturing industry has outpaced the insurance and finance industries in the number of cyberattacks levied against the industries. With nearly half of British manufacturers having fallen victim to cybercrime since 2018, the industry can no longer adopt the notion that ‘it won’t happen to us’”

The manufacturing industry had a reported 23.2% share of cyberattacks and a further 33% increase in the number of incidents caused by vulnerability exploitations from 2020 to 2021. In that same period, 63% faced losses of up to £5,000, with 22% revealing a cost to their business of between £5,000 and £25,000.

Neil continues, “As manufacturing businesses grow increasingly digital, it is now more important than ever that companies’ cybersecurity is just as proactive, because reactive improvements are too late, and damages will already have occurred.

“Vulnerabilities like single-layered protection, lack of firewall implementation, lack of protection to broadband connections and others can all be easily exploited by cybercriminals when the reality is that these vulnerabilities can be easily fixed and remote working infrastructures strengthened.”

Neil has outlined four tips for manufacturers to protect themselves from cybersecurity attacks:

  1. As a starting point, manufacturers need to evaluate their cyber threat landscape and introduce regular cybersecurity awareness training for staff.
  2. Companies should avoid unauthorised system access by using Multi-Factor Authentication and have timely updates of security patches on computers and systems.
  3. Manufacturers should increasingly look to take out cyber insurance and undertake regular security risk assessments, introducing a robust backup and disaster recovery policy and plan.
  4. Strict processes should be in place around sending sensitive files externally to combat the risk of breaches and minimise the damage an attacker can do by accessing them.

Neil adds, “The increasing tech-native nature of criminals, who have similarly adapted to the changing landscape of technology, and the lucrative nature of data means that manufacturing experts agree that cybersecurity can no longer be taken for granted. Instead, we firmly believe it should become an integral element of all company’s strategies and plans for the future.”