Cybersecurity: What Is It and Why You Should Care

Posted by Steven Brand on Nov 23, 2016 9:28:34 AM

Cybersecurity Lock.jpgAs manufacturing companies are becoming increasingly interconnected, the risks to their production systems, confidential data and supply chain are growing exponentially larger. Cybersecurity should be a concern for every manufacturer.

Small and mid-sized companies are actually at greater risks to being attacked by hackers. The reason being that they have more digital assets to target than an individual consumer, but less security than a large company with vast resources.

But what types of cyberattacks should you be looking for and how do your attempt to prevent them? In almost every case, the goal of a cyberattack is to steal and exploit sensitive data. Some of the items that hackers look for include your proprietary designs, financial information, client data or employee records. Hackers can also attack your company to hijack your systems for cyber blackmail purposes. Once hacked, they demand large sums of money to release your networks unharmed.

In order to combat the threat from hackers, the first thing to know is an understanding of the types of threats that are out there. Here is a brief list that explains some of the most frequently used attacks against manufacturers:

APT: Advanced persistent threats, or APTs, are long-term targeted attacks that break into a network in multiple phases to avoid detection.

DDoS: An acronym for distributed denial of service. DDoS attacks occur when a server is intentionally overloaded with requests, with the goal of shutting down the target's website or network system.

Inside attack: When someone with administrative privileges, usually from within the organization, purposely misuses their credentials to gain access to confidential company information.

Malware: This is short for "malicious software," and covers any program introduced into the target's computer with the intent to cause damage or gain unauthorized access.

Password attacks: There are three main types of password attacks:

  1. Brute-force attack – This involves guessing at passwords until the hacker gets in
  2. Dictionary attack – Uses a program to try different combinations of dictionary words
  3. Keylogging – Tracks all of a user's keystrokes, including login IDs and passwords.

Phishing: The most common form of cybertheft. This involves collecting sensitive information like login credentials and credit-card information through a legitimate-looking website, often sent to unsuspecting individuals in an email.

In order to combat hackers, the first thing to know is an understanding of the types of threats that are out there #cybersecurity

So what can you as a manufacturer do to lessen the odds of being hacked? According to the U.S. Small Business Administration here are their top cybersecurity tips:

Protect against viruses, spyware, and other malicious code

Make sure each of your business’s computers are equipped with antivirus software and antispyware and update regularly. Such software is readily available online from a variety of vendors. All software vendors regularly provide patches and updates to their products to correct security problems and improve functionality. Configure all software to install updates automatically.

Secure your networks

Safeguard your Internet connection by using a firewall and encrypting information. If you have a Wi-Fi network, make sure it is secure and hidden. To hide your Wi-Fi network, set up your wireless access point or router so it does not broadcast the network name, known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID). Password protect access to the router.

Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information

Establish policies on how employees should handle and protect personally identifiable information and other sensitive data. Clearly outline the consequences of violating your business’s cybersecurity policies.

Educate employees about cyberthreats and hold them accountable

Educate your employees about online threats and how to protect your business’s data, including safe use of social networking sites.

Require employees to use strong passwords and to change them often

Consider implementing multifactor authentication that requires additional information beyond a password to gain entry. Check with your vendors that handle sensitive data, especially financial institutions, to see if they offer multifactor authentication for your account.

Make backup copies of important business data and information

Regularly backup the data on all computers. Backup data automatically if possible, or at least weekly, and store the copies either offsite or on the cloud.

Control physical access to computers and network components

Prevent access or use of business computers by unauthorized individuals. Laptops can be particularly easy targets for theft or can be lost, so lock them up when unattended. Make sure a separate user account is created for each employee and require strong passwords. Administrative privileges should only be given to trusted IT staff and key personnel.

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Topics: Cybersecurity

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