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Why is the industrial sector particularly affected by cyber risk? And what are the consequences for connected factories?

Connected machines, Big Data exploitation, task automation… Technological advances have revolutionized the industrial sector. It is becoming more efficient but also more vulnerable to cyber threats. As the Kaspersky ICS Security Survey reveals, 91% of industrial organizations reported at least one security incident in their IoT environment in 2021. Let’s find out more!

Industry 4.0 is particularly exposed to cyber threats

Connected systems that leave more room for intrusion

In Industry 4.0, industrial information systems are increasingly computerized and connected to the Internet and conventional information systems. In particular, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) has increased the use of connected devices to enable centralized production progress monitoring. While these technological advances are helping to make production work more efficient, they are also making industrial systems more fragile. The interconnection of objects leads to an assortment of potential entry points for cybercriminals. This makes industrial information systems prime targets. 

Read also: Industrial information system security, what’s at stake?

A changing industry that makes risk assessment difficult

To transform an industrial site into a 4.0 site, replacing certain parts and machines with new-generation components featuring “intelligent” functionalities is necessary. They enable communication and interaction with the information system and other connected objects. This replacement can only take place gradually, as some equipment has a lifespan of over 25 years. Therefore, the industrial sector is transitioning towards Industry 4.0 but cannot fully commit to it. This hybridity brings a set of cyber threats and risks that are difficult to assess. 

The complexity of Industry 4.0 and the gradual transition of factories require particular attention to cybersecurity. More so, as cyber risks are far from minimal…

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What are the risks for poorly protected industries?

Industries with little protection are exposed to risks:

  • Legal: European laws, such as the NIS2 directive and the Critical Entity Resilience (CER) directive, require companies to maintain a minimum level of cybersecurity to mitigate risks. Non-compliance can result in criminal penalties of up to 2% of worldwide sales.
  • Financial: between the temporary disruption to industrial activity and the technical and human costs required to repair the damage, a cyber-attack generally entails considerable expenditure for the company affected. On average, a company hit by a cyber-attack will experience a 27% reduction in annual sales (CESIN, 2022).
  • Reputational: In a cyber-attack, the victim company is often held partially responsible for the damage due to a lack of security. Such an attack can damage its reputation and erode customer confidence.
  • Competitive: the revelation of confidential information, strategic information, or intellectual property assets may compromise the plant’s stability and favor the interests of its competitors.
  • State: some cyber-attacks target key sectors for nations (defense, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, etc.). The use of compromised data can have severe national repercussions.
  • Health and the environment: the consequences of a cyber-attack sometimes go beyond business issues and represent a direct threat to public health and the environment.

Cybersecurity in Industry 4.0: where to start?

The fragility of industrial 4.0 systems and the scale of the risks in the event of an attack require robust security measures to:

  • Preventing and limiting cyber-attacks.
  • Guarantee data confidentiality, integrity, and availability.
  • Protecting infrastructure.
  • Maintain continuity of industrial operations.

Identifying vulnerabilities in the plant’s information system is essential. This first step will then enable the deployment of protection measures appropriate to the IS vulnerabilities. Industries can turn to several solutions, such as:

  • Pentest as a Service: a security audit launched in less than a week for a fixed price. Uncover most of the vulnerabilities in a product and assess its security level at a given time, or plan several pen tests throughout your development cycle as part of a DevSecOps approach.
  • Bug bounty: an in-depth vulnerability hunt with the security researchers of the Yogosha Strike Force. Identify the most critical vulnerabilities with a pay-for-results logic. No vulnerabilities = no expenses: you’re only rewarded for exploitable results.

See also: How to protect industrial institutions from cyber threats?

Yogosha specializes in Offensive Security, helping industrial organizations secure their information systems. Manage your Pentest and Bug Bounty operations from a dedicated platform, and hunt for vulnerabilities with a hand-picked team of researchers!

Thanks to Yogosha, you can continue your transition to Industry 4.0 with peace of mind while ensuring the ongoing security of your information systems. Contact us!