Although 61% of smart factories have experienced a cybersecurity incident, IT groups and operational technology groups still don’t collaborate enough on security.
Manufacturing firms have become a top target of cybercriminals, extortionists, and nation-state groups, with 61% of companies experiencing a cybersecurity incident affecting their factories and three-quarters of those incidents taking production offline, according to a report published by cybersecurity firm Trend Micro on Monday.
The report, based on a survey of 250 IT departments and 250 operational technology (OT) departments, states that OT groups have more challenges with security across the board, with technology presenting the most difficulty for both groups but with people and process posing a greater security problem for OT groups. Among the challenges for OT groups are a lack of visibility into assets and associated cyber threats, and a lack of set goals for cybersecurity maturity.
The different challenges and viewpoints mean that IT and OT groups should be collaborating on cybersecurity, but only 12% of groups are working together, says William Malik, vice president of infrastructure strategies at Trend Micro.
“OT systems generally are not overbuilt, so they are chronically short of available processing power, memory, [and] network bandwidth,” Malik says. “On the other hand, IT people tend to do a better job at understanding attacks. So, working together they can get better protection and trustworthiness without risking crucial functionality.”
The survey is the latest to identify manufacturing as an industry sector in the crosshairs of cyber attackers. Manufacturing along with healthcare, information technology, and construction are the top industries targeted by ransomware groups, according to a recent report by network security firm Palo Alto Networks. A November report found that multiple ransomware development teams had started adding features to the malware to manipulate industrial control systems.
The survey revealed that the average manufacturing firm has experienced a cyber incident, and 75% of those companies had suffered a production outage as a result. In 43% of the outage cases — about 20% of all manufacturing firms — had production stopped for more than four days after a cyberattack.
“Factory cybersecurity is in the developing phase,” the Trend Micro report states. “Cyber incidents have not been rare, and many companies are making progress in both organizational and technical approaches and most of them aware the risks attached. As factory cybersecurity evolves in the next few years, this survey shows that it is difficult to select appropriate technical measures.”