Manufacturers should prepare for different types of cyberattacks
Several misconceptions exist when it comes to cybersecurity, including that a company may be too small to suffer a breach or that it may not have valuable data. The reality is that all information has value, even on a small scale. Regardless of size, organizations usually have something of value to hackers, even if it is harvesting email addresses or commandeering bandwidth. In fact, because midsize and small organizations use more “off the shelf” software, attackers typically find these companies easier to breach than highly customized organizations.
Types of attacks
What are the weaknesses that are allowing attackers to compromise the data of manufacturing companies and, just as important, what are some of the missteps organizations are making post-breach that increase the duration and expense of the incident?
Some of the more common data breach methods occurring in manufacturing companies include:
- Client-side attacks: These breaches are the most recent example of the ongoing IT security arms race, where defenses are put in place that force attackers to find new methods of unauthorized access. Since it has become standard practice to set up an Internet-facing firewall to prevent hackers from conducting direct external attacks on an organization, attackers seek ways to invade an organization’s systems from the inside. In these cases, the attack starts on an employee’s PC and then, through multiple methods, spreads to other systems and breaches the internal servers where the desired information is stored.
- Custom malware: This method uses malicious software (i.e., malware) to alter, damage or disable systems. Standard malware can easily be mitigated with anti-virus products. However, the wide-spread availability of malware kits allows even unsophisticated attackers to create customized and elite versions of this invasive software that can evade detection for months.
- Social engineering: A fancy name for what really amounts to a traditional con game. While it is a nuanced point, this type of attack compromises the organization via the manipulation of people rather than technology, even though the attack is delivered using mediums such as email and phone calls. In a common version using Web pages, the attacker constructs a website that contains malicious code, then entices visitors to the page.