Over the past several months, we have seen a string of corporate data breaches. The diverse set of enterprise targets make it clear that no company is safe from cyberattacks and while attacks occur in every industry, the manufacturing industry is in a unique position. Global competition and threat actors looking for a competitive advantage make manufacturer trade secrets a prime target for cyberattacks.
Beyond the value of this proprietary information, the growing prevalence of connected technologies, which increase production and efficiency, unfortunately also create additional avenues for attack. The manufacturing industry as a whole needs to take cybersecurity threats more seriously and increase defenses as these attacks result in financial loss, production downtime and damaged reputations and relationships.
Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report found that across all industries, most attacks are opportunistic, while 86 percent of attacks impacting manufacturers are targeted acts of cyber-espionage. That is because cybercriminals targeting manufacturers are most often trying to obtain the planning, research and development of a manufacturer’s products. Why put in the effort when you can just steal someone else’s ideas? Almost half (47 percent) of manufacturing breaches covered in the 2018 report involved the theft of intellectual property to gain competitive advantage. To put that number into perspective, only 13 percent of breaches across all industries analyzed in the report were motivated by espionage. Manufacturers work hard to remain competitive on a global scale and as competition increases, so does the demand for stolen intellectual property.