Blog Post August 25, 2022

Smart Manufacturing: Industry 4.0 Meets Cybersecurity

Smart Manufacturing: Industry 4.0 Meets Cybersecurity is a part of  Adlumin’s Cyber Blog content series. For more information about how your organization can protect itself from cybercriminals, browse more from our knowledge-rich series here.

Manufacturing sectors have changed significantly over the past decade with the adoption of IT-based automation. Embedded sensors, cloud computing, centralized management systems, and even artificial intelligence have all made significant impacts. The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (or “Industry 4.0”) now connects factory floors and supply chain elements through industrial IoT and execution systems. In turn, these  tied to enterprise resource management and critical business intelligence services.  

In previous years, cyber threats have mostly ignored manufacturing systems. Instead, hackers have been focused on many other industries, and manufacturing has rarely been a part of the conversation. In the past, manufacturers were only connected within a single network of one organization with limited internet. This made it difficult to connect with other organizations and people, but also protected them from cyber attacks.

The Challenge: Digital Transformation

This digital disruption in manufacturing expands both opportunity and risk. Industry 4.0 offers streamlined operations and optimized production. Still, industry 4.0 offers parallel risks in that cyber threats are also more streamlined and can do more damage. The result of a cyber attack can yield massive criminal payoffs, orders of magnitude more than they could even five years ago.

Headline-grabbing breaches and massive operational shutdowns demonstrate that all manufacturing sectors are vulnerable. Criminal groups like Sodin (REvil) regularly target manufacturers with ransomware designed to cause total operational disruptions and sell stolen data (financial records and proprietary intellectual property) on the Dark Web. Let’s look at one of the biggest cyber-attacks in manufacturing as an example:

The Renault-Nissan Cyber Attack

In 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attacks stole headlines for being one of the first worldwide cyber-attacks- affecting computers in hundreds of countries. WannaCry ransomware is a worm that exploits vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system. France’s Renault and the Japanese partner Nissan were temporarily forced to pause manufacturing at some of their European plants. Some speculate that losses were as high as $4 billion. The attack was triggered by phishing emails containing attachments with job offers, invoices, and other variations. The WannaCry attack targeted computers within organizations with older software versions with known security flaws. Microsoft released a patch (MS17-010) to remedy the situation to mitigate the vulnerability. To shed the proper light on risks within an IT environment, organizations should move towards continuous vulnerability management (CVM) practices.

Illuminating Tip: Often, remediating vulnerabilities requires expertise beyond the deployment of a simple patch. Explore what Adlumin’s cybersecurity experts say about >>> Continuous Vulnerability Management – Complexities of the Remediation Process.

The Solution: Build Resilience in the Age of Industry 4.0

It is essential for manufacturers to properly assess their cyber risk, especially when embracing Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 comes with risks and opportunities, making manufacturers a hot target for cybercriminals. There is not one single product, patch, or quick fix that a manufacturer can apply to address the threats and risks. That is why vulnerability management is continuous and takes a proactive approach to find and fixing any vulnerabilities. Here is what CVM steps look like for manufacturers:

CVM Lifecycle for Manufacturers

  1. Discover and identify security vulnerabilities on a regular automated schedule. Take inventory of all assets across the network and identify host details, including an operating system and open services.
  2. Categorize and prioritize assets into business units or groups.
  3. Assess and determine the risk profile to eliminate risks based on vulnerability threat.
  4. Measure and report the level of business risk associated with your assets concerning your set security policies.
  5. Prioritize and remediate the vulnerabilities identified by prioritization to risk.
  6. Verify that the threats have been eliminated via follow-up audits.

Many organizations turn to third-party vendors to help and facilitate CVM, as it is vital for any manufacturer to run smoothly and avoid ransomware attacks like WannaCry. The digital processes presented by Industry 4.0 will only grow more connected, vulnerable, and integrated in the future. Manufacturers must rethink their disaster recovery and response plans by taking a proactive approach. The need to address the cyber risk landscape has never been greater.

Additional Resources

The Importance of Proactive Security

Download this white paper to understand the difference between proactive and reactive security measures, discover the business benefits of being proactive, learn how to advance both your bottom line and your information security, and more.

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The Ultimate Guide to Malware

With malware attacks increasing yearly, it is imperative to arm your network with proactive solutions coinciding with reactive solutions. Take the first steps, download this ultimate guide, and learn about 13 of the most common types of malware and how to be proactive. 

CTA: Download Now