The manufacturing sector’s growing embrace of technology has made it more efficient but also more susceptible to cyberattacks. The industry now uses a lot of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors, which are often unprotected, but are integrated into enterprises’ systems. The security gaps make it much easier for hackers to access companies’ networks. This potential danger is why multinational conglomerate corporation Honeywell acquired SCADAfence, an OT and IT cybersecurity solutions provider, last month, VentureBeat reports.
“(The acquisition provides Honeywell) with additional technology and expertise that help accelerate our innovation roadmap, and support rapidly evolving customer requirements,” Michael Ruiz, GM of Honeywell Cybersecurity Services, told VentureBeat. “SCADAfence is an ideal complement to Honeywell’s OT cybersecurity portfolio, and when combined with the Honeywell Forge Cybersecurity+ suite, it enables us to provide an end-to-end solution with applicability to asset, site and enterprise across key Honeywell sectors.”
Asset discovery, threat detection and compliance management are among the key areas for which Honeywell plans to use the SCADAfence product, Ruiz told VentureBeat. The company will look to have the SCADAfence product portfolio integrate with the Honeywell Forge Cybersecurity+ suite and focus on digitalization, sustainability and OT cybersecurity SaaS offerings and solutions. The acquisition will also give manufacturers, process industries and infrastructure providers an integrated platform as hacks are on the rise.
Why manufacturers must enhance their cybersecurity measures
In 2021, Gartner projected that the financial impact of cyber-physical system attacks could reach $50 billion by this year. For manufacturing, recovering from a standard breach costs $2.8 million. Additionally, nine in 10 manufacturers have said they’ve already fallen victim to a ransomware attack or breach and have had their supply chains disrupted, according to Trend Micro.
The IBM Security X-Force Threat Intelligence Index discovered that manufacturing is the most attacked sector worldwide. The industry accounted for 23 percent of all ransomware attacks last year. More than 60 percent of breach attempts on manufacturers initially went after OT systems that are crucial to manufacturing operations.
Meanwhile, research firm Dragos forecasted that ransomware attacks targeting industrial organizations will increase this year, VentureBeat reports. The firm’s recent Industrial Ransomware Attack Analysis from the second quarter of 2023 found that 47.5 percent of ransomware attacks monitored worldwide impacted North American organizations and infrastructure — a 27 percent increase from the prior quarter.
In total, manufacturing was the target of seven out of 10 second quarter ransomware attacks. Industrial control systems and engineering accounted for 16 percent of attacks.
A rise in fileless malware attacks has also left companies vulnerable, VentureBeat reports. This type of malware infiltrates systems by using legitimate tools, making it difficult to detect.
“Fileless malware is a type of malicious activity that uses native, legitimate tools built into a system to execute a cyberattack,” Kurt Baker, senior director of product marketing for CrowdStrike Falcon Intelligence wrote. “Unlike traditional malware, fileless malware does not require an attacker to install any code on a target’s system, making it hard to detect.”