Important Facts About Cybersecurity For The Smart Factory

As the capabilities of smart factories increase, they will also become vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. The fact that there is such little clarity regarding these matters is doubly troubling. As a result, manufacturers scramble to implement new solutions to protect their data and operations. Unfortunately, a lack of cybersecurity knowledge can only make matters worse.

Important Facts About Cybersecurity For The Smart Factory

Industry 4.0

As manufacturers strive to build smart factories, cybersecurity for smart factories is an essential component. Attacks on industrial equipment can destroy a company’s business model. While knowing which assets are vulnerable to cybercrime can give businesses a competitive advantage, it is not always possible to have complete visibility. As a result, cybersecurity challenges are a big part of Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

This means that the pool of possible attackers is likely to be much larger than for conventional systems.

Cybercrime in manufacturing

Cybercrime is a major problem that is growing in importance for manufacturers, with nearly half experiencing breaches in 2016. A recent Royal United Services Institute report found that manufacturing is now the third most targeted industry. The findings suggest that manufacturers should focus on security and data-sharing as a priority. Moreover, manufacturers should consider the cost of cybercrime and how to avoid it.

One of the major threats to manufacturers is phishing attacks. This cybercrime targets factory employees who use corporate email addresses to communicate with other employees. The emails are crafted to look like messages from supervisors or the company’s shorthand. Sometimes, a victim is tricked into clicking on a link to transfer money or other valuables. Instead, the money is diverted to another person. The repercussions of this type of cybercrime can be devastating.

Lack of awareness of cybersecurity in smart factories

Cybersecurity in smart factories is a big concern for manufacturers. According to a survey conducted by an international service and consultancy firm, 53% of manufacturing organizations fear attacks from hackers. Furthermore, 51% expect a rise in cyberattacks in the next 12 months. However, despite the high level of awareness, manufacturers often do not have the proper infrastructure to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. Several challenges are cited in the survey, including limited budgets and human factors.

One of the major challenges in securing smart factories is that many manufacturers don’t prioritize cybersecurity in their design. Only 51% of organizations build cybersecurity practices into their smart factories. While most companies invest in digital technologies, most don’t prioritize cybersecurity. Despite this, smart factories have increasingly connected to the cloud and the internet, increasing the potential for cyberattacks. The bottom line is that manufacturers must establish cybersecurity regulations and standards within their smart factories.

Importance of real-time inventory of OT/IoT devices

Providing a real-time inventory of OT/IoT devices is critical to smart factory cybersecurity. In addition to providing visibility on connected assets, real-time inventory solutions can identify potential threats and allow the owners to remediate them quickly. Such tools can improve accuracy, reduce employee time, and create a transparent audit trail. They can also help identify new and unapproved assets.

The OT environment is a unique ecosystem because it involves control systems controlling the physical process. These control systems are not connected to traditional IT systems, making them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Security monitoring tools for OT environments can detect known malware signatures and process variables. This information can also assist in accelerating network segmentation and detecting potential operational issues.

Lack of synchronization between OT and IT

Manufacturers must integrate their IT and OT systems to achieve optimal results and create a smart factory. The synchronization between these two systems is crucial for reducing waste. For instance, IT should work with OT to reduce energy consumption and ensure the safety of the operations.

While IT and OT systems should work together, they often operate independently. For example, the IT system handles business applications from the front office, while the OT system manages the factory’s operations. Combined, they form the backbone of a smart manufacturing architecture. Various frameworks, reports, and standards have addressed this issue in the context of Industry 4.0 smart manufacturing.

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