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Hackers take dead aim at manufacturers as cyber attacks rise globally

Motivations for the attacks are often criminal in nature and include extortion via ransomware and industrial espionage, NTT Security says.

OMAHA, Neb. — As the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks continue to rise globally, manufacturers are found to be particularly vulnerable to hackers, according to NTT Security.

In its Global Threat Intelligence Center (GTIC) 2017 Q2 Threat Intelligence Report, NTT Security found that 34% of all documented attacks targeted manufacturers. Moreover, manufacturers appear in the top three targets in five of the six geographic regions globally.

The report is based on events identified across the cybersecurity firm’s global client base during the second quarter of 2017. Among the information included in the report, the firm highlights:

  • Cyber attacks were up 24% globally during Q2 2017
  • 58% of malware distribution in manufacturing environments was via web-based downloads
  • 67% of malware attacks were delivered by phishing emails
  • The speed of attacks continues to increase exponentially once proof of concept code is released

“Our Global Threat Intelligence Centers are constantly monitoring cyber activities on a global scale and providing us with great insight as to which industries cybercriminals are targeting, why they’re targeting these areas, and how they may do so moving forward,” says Jon Heimerl, manager of the firm’s threat intelligence communication team. “This latest GTIC 2017 Q2 Threat Intelligence Report documents that hackers continue to target the manufacturing sector, which should be a red flag for CISOs across this market segment.”

Motivations for the attacks are often criminal in nature, he adds, including extortion via ransomware, industrial espionage and theft of data such as account numbers.

“What poses an even greater problem is that when these breaches are successful, yet go undetected, they allow hackers to establish footholds in organizations’ networks where they have free reign to wreak havoc over extended periods,” Heimerl says.

Analysis shows the top five industries targeted were manufacturing, finance, health care, business services and technology. Among manufacturers surveyed for the report, 37% indicated they do not have an incident response plan in place. This poses a particular concern as organization’s IT security liabilities often impacted not just the manufacturing organizations, but suppliers, as well as related industries and consumers.

The manufacturing industry was also heavily targeted across NTT Security client networks throughout 2016, appearing in the top three in five of the six geographic regions. No other industry appeared in the top three more than twice, according to the report.

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