Throwing a cyber wrench into the works of a busy factory is becoming an ever more popular and lucrative ploy amongst the hacking community. The more technologically-sophisticated the production line, the more scope attackers have for disrupting it – especial if it involves finely tuned functions such as computer-imaging, barcode scanners and measuring tolerances.
Businesses that specialise in quick turn-around and delivery of products are particularly vulnerable to disruption of their tight schedules. A few hours can make all the difference between meeting contractual targets and breaking the supply chain – with consequences for both the company itself and the end-user of that product.
Manufacturers now rank alongside finance houses and government bodies as the most popular targets for custom ransomware attacks. The number of incursions into US industrial control systems, for instance, has doubled during the past 24 months – and bespoke malware is often to blame. It may take longer to write and deploy, but once inside the system, the damage it causes can be severe, putting hackers in a much stronger negotiating position for ransom.