Today's society is interconnected through technology on a scale never seen before. With this interconnectedness comes security risks brought upon by hackers or other malicious parties. Cybersecurity is a hot topic – dedicated specialists are a commodity that many companies want to get their hands on. Industrial cybersecurity, in particular, may be one of the most important fields in this emerging area. Cybercrime that targets industrial infrastructure has the potential to severely damage companies – or even governments.
Industrial operations are appealing targets to cybercriminals. Society's ever-increasing levels of automation mean that more aspects of the manufacturing process are handled through software and the Internet of Things. The digital, networked nature of these operations means that they are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Industrial cyberattacks may be carried out by state actors, hactivists}, or even rival firms attempting to gain a competitive edge. The number of avenues of attack means that industrial targets of opportunity are plentiful for cybercriminals, according to Cisco.
Cyberattackers can damage critical infrastructure and shut down production lines, as well as steal sensitive information about an organization's operations. Hostile actors may even use hacking methods to interfere with a state's infrastructure as a form of protest. These crimes carried out over the internet can have serious real-world consequences. As a result, firms everywhere are bolstering their industrial security through various methods. Whether by researching new software and/or hardware solutions or hiring networking specialists, organizations are investing in their cybersecurity futures. However, one problem firms will have to deal with is not so easily solved: human behavior.
A large amount of cybercrime is carried out thanks to simple errors or lapses of judgment on the part of employees. A production line engineer may accidentally connect a critical piece of hardware to the wrong network, or a C-level executive might leave a note containing the passcode to the sever room in a public area. These small mistakes can have dire consequences. Kaspersky's State of Industrial Cybersecurity 2019 study states that employee errors are the cause behind half of industrial cybercrimes. The shortage of dedicated cybersecurity professionals means that the average employee is unprepared and untrained in informational security measures. But these simple mistakes have an outsized affect – entire pieces of infrastructure can be compromised by something as simple as an easily-guessed password.
As a result, companies are not just investing in hardware and software but in proper training to protect their industrial operations. Employees of all levels are trained to understand just how much damage poor informational security can bring. Industrial operations are especially vulnerable to attack, and a firm that does not adequately protect against criminal threats will have all aspects of their business damaged by a cyberattack.
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