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Cybersecurity concept

Cybersecurity: Protect Your Data, and Your Workers

Feb. 1, 2023
This MxD series points to the seven most common cyber network threats, and details how to combat them.

With the rapid increase in a data-centric digital manufacturing landscape, the rise in internal and external threats to the connected system also has risen. The cost of system failures in manufacturing are measurable in some terms—the cost of ransomware payments and the potential damage to data systems.

Cybersecurity has become essential to system design, management and maintenance. Whether the threats are accidental or intentional, benign or consequential, plant design and operations teams now must be aware of threats to cybersecurity and understand the ways to prevent attacks—including the need to train the workforce on what to watch for.

This seven-part series is presented by MxD, the manufacturing innovation institute that works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense to equip U.S. factories with the digital tools, cybersecurity, and workforce expertise they need. Machine Design has partnered with MxD to present this series to our audience in an effort to call greater attention to develop a stronger cybersecurity strategy.

Threat #1: Equipment Sabotage

To protect your equipment and your workforce, start on the ground with security protocols and network strategies to control system access and better ensure compliance by your employees.

Threat #2: Insider Threats

One cybersecurity threat comes from employees who overlook security protocols or access external information on internal networks. This can be anything from a company-dedicated laptop to a personal smartphone. The potential system impact is still significant.

Threat #3: Supply Chain Attacks

At a time when supply chains are under greater pressure than ever, it’s more important than ever to implement robust security measures. Keeping your full supply chain safe requires working with your third-party vendors to ensure there is a security protocol across both your network and that of the supplier.

Threat #4: Phishing Attacks

The term phishing captures a wide variety of techniques to get people to click through to potential external system threats. Learning to recognize phishing—and learning how not to get hooked—is an essential part of any cybersecurity strategy.

Threat #5: Ransomware

MxD reports that 23% of cyberattacks on manufacturing involved ransomware, which forces companies to pay hackers to unlock their system. The top way hackers access systems is through phishing, so employing a preventive strategy on both fronts is essential to keeping hackers away from control or your network or your data.

Threat #6: Data Theft

It’s not just data breaches that manufacturers have to be concerned with today. In an age of tools such as AI and ChatGPT, the threats against data manipulation is a real concern.

Threat #7: Malware

Cybercriminals are constantly innovating their malware to avoid detection, yet thanks to gaps in legacy equipment security, older malware infections continue to put operations technology at risk.

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