Ransomware Attacks on Manufacturers Are Up in 2022

Ransomware is a persistent problem that’s on the rise in numerous industries — manufacturing among them. Cybercriminals have found lucrative opportunities in holding digital infrastructure hostage, and the ransom companies are willing to pay to address the problem is climbing higher with each successful attack.

Manufacturing-focused ransomware attacks are at an all-time high in 2022, and they could continue to rise if producers don’t take action to defend themselves.

Manufacturing cyberattacks are on the rise

Cyberattacks are a growing threat for manufacturers worldwide, especially in the United States. Thanks to the manufacturing sector’s growing digital infrastructure, the industry is a prime target for cybercriminals. 2021 saw industrial ransomware attacks increase significantly. The manufacturing industry, in particular, was the target of 65% of all industrial ransomware incidents — six times as much as the next leading industrial sector, food and beverage.

Each successful cyberattack on producers incentivizes the next cybercriminal to make their move. While law enforcement constantly pursues individual cybercriminals and groups alike, taking them offline, groups quickly shift, reform, and reprioritize. Experts predict even more disruption throughout 2022 and beyond.

Why are manufacturers targeted for ransomware?

Today, manufacturing is in the midst of its Fourth Industrial Revolution, and it’s largely a digital one. Producers are investing in digital infrastructure and technology, and changes and updates are implemented so quickly that they’re often vulnerable to attack. Moreover, there’s still a newness to manufacturing’s digital infrastructure, which can allow for gaps between orchestration and security.

As manufacturers become increasingly reliant on digital technology to power their operations, particularly the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cybercriminals use these new avenues to exploit flaws in industrial systems. As cybercriminals threaten to undermine functionality and disrupt industrial processes, manufacturers need relief fast and are often forced to pay high ransoms to get back online.

This combination of new infrastructure and its links to critical operations makes manufacturing an exploitable target for cybercriminals.

What can manufacturers do to protect themselves?

It’s up to manufacturers to protect themselves from the constant threat of cyberattacks and ransomware. Just one incident has the power to damage a company financially while also tanking its reputation in the process. Manufacturers need to start with the basics to safeguard themselves against ransomware and the headaches that accompany these events:

  • Keep software up to date. Cybercriminals often take advantage of known problems in software. Install patches to keep software up to date and subscribe to automatic updates, if available, to address vulnerabilities proactively.
  • Run antivirus software. Antivirus software protects operations from malicious threats. While even the best software won’t protect against everything, it can secure mission-critical systems from a wide range of common malware.
  • Consult with an outside firm. Hiring an outside consultancy can bolster the cybersecurity efforts at any company. Whether they suggest installing a firewall, implementing two-factor authentication, or undergoing security awareness training, getting outside help can quickly elevate cybersecurity defenses.

Unfortunately, cyberattacks on manufacturing will only stop once they’re no longer a lucrative endeavor for cybercriminals. Companies need to show cybercriminals that their infrastructure is strong and safe — and force them to look elsewhere for a ransom payday.

While you invest in cybersecurity, don’t forget to take care of your physical assets too. You can always count on the professionals at Global Electronic Services. Contact us for all your industrial electronic, servo motor, AC and DC motor, hydraulic, and pneumatic needs — and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook!
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