Kristin Manganello | Thomas Industry Update
In the early days of cybercrime, cyberthieves were known to target companies with valuable financial data or mine social media accounts for personal details. But as technology continues to evolve, so do cybercriminals, and now the manufacturing industry has started to come under attack more frequently.
Why Are Cybercriminals Targeting the Manufacturing Industry?
While the manufacturing industry was historically largely unaffected by cybercrime, there are several reasons why the industry has recently started to draw unwanted attention.
One of the main reasons manufacturers are often targeted by cybercriminals is because they hold valuable proprietary information known as intellectual property, which attracts a spectrum of thieves, according to Dr. Wesley McGrew, director of operations at HORNE Cyber, an offense-focused cybersecurity provider.
“Not only are [manufacturers] a target for financially-motivated attackers that steal banking and customer information, they are the target of espionage by competitors and state-sponsored attackers,” McGrew says.
“By stealing the intellectual property of a manufacturer (designs, processes, etc.), the competition can undercut the victim by not having spent money on research and development,” he explains. “The stakes are high, and foreign intelligence services assist government- [or] party-controlled companies with cyber operations to steal this sensitive data.”
According to digital privacy expert Ray Walsh, a VPN reviewer for ProPrivacy.com, a digital privacy education and review site, the theft of intellectual property can be devastating to a manufacturing company.
“Intellectual property is at the heart of any firm’s future revenue model and new breakthroughs are often the result of years of expensive research and development,” he says. “For competing firms, the temptation to steal costly research is massive and is known to lead to complex cyberattacks.”