Verizon’s 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report revealed some alarming statistics regarding workplace security. In small businesses alone, there were 16,312 suspected incidents and 5,199 confirmed breaches. Over 80% of those breaches involved external attacks, usually for financial gain, and 74% of them were caused by social engineering or theft of credentials like passwords and user IDs, often through business email accounts.
In 80% of these attacks, Ransomware was used, and in many situations, a Log4j logging library vulnerability was used to access information. Upgrading software and preventing JNDI lookups are key ways to prevent these attacks, yet many manufacturing companies don’t often think of the potential risk.
When there is a breach of your company’s workplace security, it’s not only your production that’s at risk. Your employees’ and clients’ PII are also at risk. It can become costly if you’re not using automation to heighten security.
Five Major Breaches in Manufacturing and What Caused Them
You might think of the manufacturing industry as being less likely than a breach of a bank, hospital, or government agency. That’s not true. Manufacturing plant breaches are common and can be costly.
Advantech, an IOT manufacturer, was attacked in 2020. The ransomware attack demanded 750 bitcoins in exchange for the decryption keys for the 3G of data and affected systems. The total cost of this attack is unknown, but it’s believed to be around $14 million.
FACC AG is an Austrian manufacturing company specializing in airplane parts. A bad player sent an email that alleged to be from the company’s CEO and asked the employee to send funds for a new acquisition. The email was fake and the CFO and CEO lost their jobs for failure to protect the company from the losses that are believed to have totaled $61 million.
JBS is a meat production and distribution company with several plants in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. They were hit by a ransomware attack that cost them $11 million to avoid the loss of production, plant closures, and multiple days of employees’ wages. The company is unsure how the REvil hacker collective in Russia was able to access their servers.
Norsk Hydro is an aluminum manufacturer with plants or offices in 40 countries. A cyberattack impacted many plants, including smelting plants in three countries. That same LockerGoga attack also impacted two chemical manufacturing plants in the U.S. The cost of Norsk Hydro’s losses came to $75 million. It’s believed that the stolen credentials that led to the attack were stolen in a phishing attack or purchased on the black market.
Visser Precision is a space and defense manufacturer that experienced a DoppelPaymer ransomware attack in 2019. The attack was found to have originated in Russia and stole NDA agreements with companies like SpaceX and Tesla and schematics from companies like Lockheed Martin. The cost of this breach has not been revealed.
What Kinds of Automation Solutions Address Workplace Security?
What types of automation solutions are the best for heightening workplace security? There are four main areas you should implement.
Tools that scan for vulnerabilities are always checking for weaknesses and issues with your system. Think of it as having a team of security guards constantly circling your plant 24/7 throughout the year. Vulnerability scanning tools do not need a day off, a break, or holidays. They’re always checking for weak points.
If your company’s network is subjected to malicious attacks and activity, intrusion detection systems will take immediate action. They’re constantly analyzing network traffic to look for issues, so hours or days don’t pass before the threat is detected and addressed with the next tool that’s important to have.
Incident Response Tools:
If intrusion detection systems detect malicious activity, incident response tools get to work addressing that threat. It will shut it down and keep the bad player from accessing your network.
One of the biggest vulnerabilities comes from your software. If there’s a weakness in an update, patches are issued ASAP to resolve the vulnerability, but someone has to be on top of those software updates. If your IT workers are home for the evening and an urgent patch is issued, it will be hours before the patch is installed.
Instead, you can use automation to constantly monitor for patches and software updates and install them as soon as they’re issued. There’s no more waiting, and it takes the stress of rushing to the office off your IT workers.
It’s also important to look at the other ways automation heightens safety within your plant. When rote processes are automated, it takes some of the strain off your workers. If robots lift heavy weights and move pallets from one area to the other, your workers are less likely to get injured on the job. You lower on-the-job accidents and injuries, which is even more important!
What Are the Pros and Cons of Automation Solutions?
The cost of automation is often the biggest hurdle for a company’s CEO and shareholders. It’s going to cost money, but you have to weigh that against the risks of continuing to do things the way you always have. A breach can ruin you.
Breaches reported to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center have a median loss of $50,000 when social engineering is used and $26,000 with ransomware. Some breaches cost millions. That’s just with small and medium businesses. A larger manufacturing business with factories around the world may experience much greater losses.
Your employees may fear the introduction of automation within the factory. For many, they see automation as a technology designed to take their job away. This pushback is detrimental to your business, so you need to address it sooner rather than later.
The best way to ease fears is by detailing how your dedicated workers have training opportunities that help them advance into new, higher-paying careers. Instead of running a machine all day, they could become the technical experts who instruct the software on how to run. They’ll become pros at troubleshooting and finding advantageous ways to complete a task efficiently and correctly.
Technology does bring new risks and security vulnerabilities. But, if you make sure your employees are well-trained and continually analyze the system’s reports and statuses, your factory becomes an efficient, secure workplace.
How Do You Integrate Automation Solutions in Your Plant?
You’ve talked it over and everyone in your main office believes automation is essential for increasing productivity, heightening security, and making the workplace safer. What happens next?
There’s a lot to consider, and it takes expert knowledge to match your budget with the technology you need. Mitsubishi Electric helps you explore your options and come up with the right upgrades for your needs that also fit within your budget.
Our solutions help you meet your client’s demands without risking safety and security. You’d be surprised how data-driven automation improves your output and automates security-related tasks like patch management, detection of intrusions, analyzing potential vulnerabilities, and handling any potential issues.
Reach Mitsubishi Electric by phone or email us to get in touch. Our team of automation and smart manufacturing experts is ready to answer your questions and help you strategize the best plan of action for your factory.