Securing Your Manufacturing Firm Against Cyberattacks

Securing Your Manufacturing Firm Against Cyberattacks
In today's digitally connected world, the manufacturing sector is becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. As technology advances, so does the sophistication of cybercriminals. Recent events, such as the cyberattack on Clorox, have underlined the pressing need for manufacturing companies to bolster their cybersecurity efforts. Moreover, with the SEC's new mandate requiring the disclosure of cyberattacks in public filings, the stakes have never been higher.

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Recent Cyberattacks in the Manufacturing Sector: The Case of Clorox

In a world where cyber threats are evolving rapidly, even giants like Clorox aren’t spared. The company recently fell victim to a cyberattack that significantly disrupted its operations. Attackers targeted its IT systems, causing a slowdown in production and shipment of its products. This not only resulted in financial setbacks but also damaged the company’s reputation. Such incidents emphasize the importance of cybersecurity in the manufacturing sector.

The New SEC Mandate: Disclosing Cyberattacks in Public Filings

In an era where transparency is crucial, the SEC has introduced a new mandate. It requires companies to disclose cyberattacks in their public filings. This move aims to ensure that stakeholders are well-informed about the risks a company faces and the potential impact on its financial health. For manufacturing companies, non-disclosure could lead to severe penalties, not to mention a loss of trust among investors and customers.

Here are ten steps you can take to proactively manage cyber risk for your manufacturing company:

Conduct Regular Risk Assessments:

Regularly evaluating your company’s vulnerabilities is paramount. This involves not just a surface-level review but an inventorying of IT infrastructure, machinery interfaces, and employee access points. Siemens, a global manufacturing leader, routinely conducts risk assessments. This proactive approach has enabled them to detect potential threats early and implement necessary countermeasures.

Employee Training:

A significant number of breaches occur due to uninformed or lack of care among employees. Comprehensive training programs that cover phishing, safe internet practices, and password hygiene are vital. General Electric (GE) emphasizes ongoing cybersecurity awareness training, ensuring its global workforce remains vigilant against potential threats.

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA):

MFA requires users to provide multiple forms of identification before gaining access, making unauthorized access much harder. Toyota introduced MFA across its global operations, adding an extra security layer that thwarted numerous unauthorized access attempts.

Keep Systems Updated:

Outdated software often has vulnerabilities. Regular updates and patches ensure these potential entry points for hackers are minimized. Boeing consistently updates its systems. This practice was instrumental in quickly countering the WannaCry ransomware attack, limiting its impact.

Backup Data Regularly:

Regular backups ensure that, even in the face of ransomware or data breaches, a company can restore its operations swiftly. Maersk, after being hit by the NotPetya ransomware, was able to recover thanks to its robust backup systems, minimizing operational downtime.

Segment Your Network:

By dividing the network into segments, a breach in one area doesn’t compromise the entire system. Lockheed Martin uses network segmentation to protect its sensitive defense-related data, ensuring that even if one segment is attacked, others remain secure.

Outsource parts of security to external experts:

Engaging experts, either in-house or external, provides specialized knowledge and skills to counter sophisticated threats. Honeywell has a dedicated cybersecurity unit specializing in industrial threats, showcasing its commitment to protecting its manufacturing operations.

Monitor Systems 24/7:

Continuous monitoring helps detect anomalies or breaches in real-time, allowing for immediate action. Caterpillar Inc. employs 24/7 monitoring, which was pivotal in detecting and thwarting a potentially severe cyberattack in its early stages.

Vendor Security:

Ensuring that third-party vendors and suppliers also maintain high cybersecurity standards is crucial as their vulnerabilities can become your own. Apple mandates strict cybersecurity requirements for its suppliers, ensuring that the entire production ecosystem remains secure.

Develop an Incident Response Plan:

A well-laid-out response plan can reduce the damage from a breach, ensuring timely action and communication. After a cyber incident, Merck, a pharmaceutical giant, activated its incident response plan, which helped mitigate the attack’s impact and streamline communication with stakeholders.


Manufacturing giants across the globe understand the importance of robust cybersecurity measures. By emulating their best practices, companies can better protect themselves against the ever-evolving cyber threats of the modern era. In case you are looking for the right cybersecurity solution for your manufacturing operation, you can browse thousands of products and services on Cypher here.

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