Nearly a half of UK manufacturers have been the victim of cyber crime, with the sector now the third most targeted for attack, according to a new report.
The report, published by EEF and AIG and carried out by The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), pinpoints the susceptibility of manufacturers to cyber risk, revealing that 41 per cent of companies do not believe they have access to enough information to even assess their true cyber risk. And 45 per cent feel that they do not have access to the right tools for the job.
Cyber threat is holding back companies from investing in digital technologies, reveals the research, with a third of those surveyed nervous of digital improvement. Moreover, a worryingly large 12 per cent of manufacturers admit they have no technical or managerial processes in place to even start assessing the real risk.
The report highlights that one of the easiest forms of cyber attack comes through poorly protected office systems, often the first implemented historically within manufacturing businesses. The report looks at a number of real-life examples, including two where production systems were infiltrated and severely disrupted after hackers gained access to their IT systems by initially hacking into unprotected office software, used to keep HR and admin records.
“A comprehensive approach to cyber security is not something that manufacturers can afford to ignore – with the sector now the third most targeted for attack. Only Government systems and finance are more vulnerable, yet manufacturing is amongst the least protected against cyber-crime,” said Stephen Phipson CBE, Chief Executive at EEF.
“The 4th Industrial Revolution represents an unprecedented opportunity through interconnectivity. But that very openness brings with it increased risk. Cyber-vulnerability is a major barrier to business and growth; threatening loss of data, theft of capital and intellectual property, disruption to business, and impact on trading reputation.
“Manufacturers must urgently take appropriate steps to protect themselves. Our sector is already a significant target for malicious activity in cyberspace, which impacts businesses in a variety of ways. Increasing digitisation means that the challenge is likely to both broaden and deepen.”