Smart factories a prominent target for cyber criminals

Stock image of cybersecurity | Accenture Federal Services and Google Public Sector

A new report from the Capgemini Research Institute has found that the connected nature of smart factories exponentially increases the risks of attacks in the intelligent industry era, with few manufacturers having mature practices across the critical pillars of cybersecurity.

According to the Capgemini report, ‘Smart & Secure: Why smart factories need to prioritize cybersecurity’, 51 percent of industrial organizations believe that the number of cyberattacks on smart factories is likely to increase over the next 12 months. Yet nearly half (47 percent) of manufacturers say cybersecurity in their smart factories is not a C-level concern.

Around 53 percent of organizations agree that most future cyber threats will feature smart factories as their primary targets. However, a high level of awareness doesn’t automatically translate to business preparedness. A lack of C-suite focus, limited budget, and human factors are noted as the top cybersecurity challenges for manufacturers to overcome.

When it comes to incidents, only a few of the organizations surveyed claimed that their cybersecurity teams have the required knowledge and skills to carry out urgent security patching without external support. One common cause for this widespread inadequacy is the lack of a cybersecurity leader to spearhead the required upskilling program.

The report found that “cybersecurity Leaders” who deploy mature practices across the critical pillars of cybersecurity: awareness, preparedness, and implementation of cybersecurity in smart factories, outperform their peers in multiple aspects. These include recognizing attack patterns at their early stage of deployment (74 percent) and reducing the impact of these attacks (72 percent), compared to just 46 percent and 41 percent of other organizations respectively.

Geert van der Linden, cybersecurity business lead at Capgemini said: “The benefits of digital transformation make manufacturers want to invest heavily in smart factories, but efforts could be undone in the blink of an eye if cybersecurity is not baked-in from the offset. The increased attack surface area and number of operational technology and Industrial Internet of Things devices make smart factories a prominent target for cyber criminals. Unless this is made a board-level priority, it will be difficult for organizations to overcome these challenges, educate their employees and vendors, and streamline communication between cybersecurity teams and the C-suite.”

To read the full report, click here.