Ask the Expert | Spring 2019

The urgent cyber threat to U.S. manufacturers

Manufacturing companies are some of the biggest targets for cyberattacks. The events that grab headlines are the spectacular ones, like the 48-hour shutdown of Honda’s Sayama plant in Japan during 2017. But being a smaller target affords little protection. The viral nature of cybercrime technology means it’s fast and easy to mount thousands of attacks. Cyberthieves are eager to find companies with weak defenses—which are often those with small or overworked security staffs.

What they’re after varies. It may be money, through a ransomware attack that paralyzes your systems until you hand over funds to restore control. Or, it may be an attempt to steal intellectual property (IP)—your unique manufacturing process. It may be data, such as confidential customer, employee or vendor information. Or, it may simply be an attack out of malice—digital vandalism that uses malware to destroy or disrupt your systems.

As the 2018 IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence Index found, manufacturing was the second most attacked sector, behind information and communications technology1. In one 2017 Cisco Systems survey, more than a quarter of surveyed U.S. manufacturers reported lost revenue from cyberattacks in the previous year2. Despite this alarming trend, Cisco reported that 40 percent of surveyed security professionals in the manufacturing sector say they don’t even have a formal security strategy3.

Many manufacturers are aware of the problem, however. Huntington Cybersecurity Outreach Director Don Boian says he sees many small- to mid-sized manufacturers moving past the denial phase and into the acceptance phase, where they’re ready to take a more methodical approach to security.

For more information, including five steps to reducing cybersecurity risk, visit to download the full whitepaper.


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1. IBM Corporation. X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, 2018 Report.

2. Cisco Systems. Cisco 2017 Midyear Cybersecurity Report

3. Ibid.

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