Manufacturing Industry

As of 2023, IBISWorld estimates that the US has over 600,000 manufacturing businesses, and SCMO estimates that there are over 10,000,000 worldwide. Manufacturing output was over $16T in 2022, making it a prime target for hackers looking to generate ransoms. IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Report lists Manufacturing as the top-attacked OT industry at 58% of all attacks and 25% of all industry attacks.

As manufacturing moves into the era of Industry 4.0 and beyond, the challenge of protecting their cyber-physical OT networks has become a business imperative. Cyber attacks can cause manufacturing companies to incur enormous losses in operations and revenue by forcing the closure of one or more plants while addressing the damage done. In addition, manufacturers may face exposure to sensitive data, which can result in failing to fulfill customer orders and a loss of brand value.  In extreme circumstances, the most severe attacks can cause permanent damage to a manufacturer's plant and equipment. Although it brings tremendous operational advantages, the fact is that the more connected your OT environment is, the bigger the risk.

Manufacturing companies must isolate their OT networks from their IT networks and deploy a cybersecurity solution optimized for the OT environment. Highly secure OT networks practice Defense in Depth, commonly using a different security solution than IT to ensure that a failure or vulnerability in the IT arena doesn’t compromise their OT cybersecurity.

Manufacturing Illustration

The manufacturing sector is the most attacked in OT, experiencing an increase in AI-powered cyber incidents, making it crucial for their operators to prioritize their investments to AI-Resistant Cybersecurity solutions.

Cyberattacks Security Protection for
Manufacturing Industry

OT Security Manufacturing Attacks  Graph

Cyberattacks on the Energy Industry in the US

The energy sector faces five major cyber threats.

Supply Chain Attacks

In supply chain attacks, threat actors access an organization's network through a third-party vendor or supplier, potentially compromising sensitive information. The Colonial Pipeline attack was a significant supply chain attack caused by a compromised VPN account, and the attackers stole data and demanded ransom.

A ransomware attack disabled Baltimore City computers in May 2019, causing millions of dollars in damages and disrupting daily life for weeks. The attackers targeted not just IT networks but also critical infrastructure. These incidents demonstrate that cybercriminals are willing to target any vulnerable system, regardless of its impact on daily life or critical infrastructure.

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The Growing Threat of AI-powered Cybersecurity Attacks in Manufacturing

In recent years, the manufacturing industry has been a frequent target of cyberattacks by criminals, hacktivists, and bad actors looking to steal data and install ransomware. 

Verizon's 2023 Data Breach Investigations ReportVerizon's 2022 Data Breach Investigations Report highlights that the manufacturing industry faces significant industrial security risks, with breaches primarily involving social engineering attacks, system intrusion, and web application attacks, accounting for 83% of all incidents. Financial gain is the primary motivation behind 96% of the attacks targeting the manufacturing sector, and external forces are responsible for 90% of attacks.

IBM reports that spear phishing and the exploitation of public-facing applications were the top two infection vectors at 28% each. The top attack vectors were backdoors (28%) and ransomware (23%), all to extort money (32%). 

As Generative AI (GenAI) is now being used to enhance phishing attacks and to generate no-code attack tools and malware, it is imperative for manufacturing companies to put their OT cybersecurity shields up.

Shields Up for Industry 4.0 OT Cybersecurity 

As the age of Industry 4.0 expands, the manufacturing industry encounters a growing threat landscape in terms of cybersecurity, with operational and information technology environments becoming more interconnected. This integration poses a big challenge since legacy solutions with significant security weaknesses are frequently involved.

Manufacturing companies do not have a consolidated set of regulations like some industries, but following the NIST Cyber Security Framework, NIS2 Directive, Cyber Resilience Act, or IEC 62443 provides strong guidance on best practices for the industry. OT Cybersecurity for Manufacturing requires several critical capabilities:

  • Strong Perimeter Protection from both external threats and internal IT lateral movement.
  • Stronger authentication with extensive use of Phishing Resistant Multi-Factor Authentication.
  • Real-time granting and revocation of permissions for the multitude of contractors and part-timers that may interact with specific OT systems.
  • Simple and manageable network segmentation to limit risks if a specific device or system is compromised.

BlastWave’s Manufacturing OT Cybersecurity Solutions

BlastWave is delivering a radically simplified OT Cybersecurity solution for the manufacturing industry. BlastShield is designed to simplify how secure OT networks are deployed, enabling a seamless transition from your current network to the one you need for the future. 

BlastWave offers three key technologies to protect the Manufacturing industry:

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Make Devices Undiscoverable OT Security

Network Cloaking:

Network Cloaking ensures that critical yet outdated legacy infrastructure such as PLCs, DCSs, RTUs, SCADA, and HMIs become invisible to external threats. Rather than just obfuscating these systems, they do not appear in any scans or probes from a hacker. With BlastShield, manufacturers ensure OT cybersecurity and align with industry guidance like NIST 800-53, 800-207 (Zero Trust), and IEC 62443. With Network Cloaking, AI-enhanced reconnaissance tools cannot probe into the internal workings of a factory because they have no path to reach the internal OT networks.

OT Secure Remote Access:

BlastShield provides OT Secure Remote Access to critical manufacturing systems, ensuring plant operators can monitor and manage them without exposing them to cyber threats. BlastShield’s phishing-resistant MFA biometric authentication protects against GenAI-powered phishing attacks and MFA hijacking. A full mesh of P2P encrypted tunnels is created to secure traffic from remote users to the factory floor and any agent-enabled systems, protecting against Man-in-the-middle attacks.

Network Segmentation (MicroSegmentation):

BlastShield simplifies the challenge of microsegmentation by creating simple peer-to-peer encrypted and authenticated tunnels to each device or group of devices without complex firewall rulesets. IT and OT network staff and temporary contractors are permitted access to only the systems they are responsible for, and privileges can be granted and revoked in real-time. BlastShield prevents lateral movement by Secure Remote Access users within the network and can even provide lateral movement protection at Layer 2 for local network connections.