Cybersecurity Awareness Podcast: Spotlight on Manufacturing


The pandemic, smart manufacturing initiatives, and Industry 4.0 trends have shifted manufacturing into digital transformation. As such, the industry is now experiencing a dramatic uptick in ransomware attacks. The majority of these attacks target operational technology (OT) systems by gaining access through compromised home networks and the devices of remote workers. Manufacturing organizations have highly complex infrastructure and environments. Having an accurate picture of security vulnerabilities is a challenge in itself. Listen to this podcast to explore how manufacturing organizations can mitigate their cybersecurity risks and find a more secure path forward.

Host: James Hilliard


  • Ryan Spurr, Director of Manufacturing Strategy at Connection
  • Steve Nardone, Senior Director of Security and Network Solutions at Connection
  • Tim Allen, Director of Operations and Technology at Connection

[1:18] Manufacturing is the highest targeted industry when it comes to ransomware attacks. Manufacturing is seen as an attractive industry for malicious actors as it plays a critical role in supply-chain and hosts a range of intellectual property such as R&D, unique processes, and proprietary equipment.

[2:50] Legacy technologies and devices are major vulnerability points. Many manufacturing organizations have been around for decades. Over time, factory expansions and upgrades happen. But with this long-term growth, a lifecycle strategy needs to be in place to help manage risks effectively. If the average lifespan is three to five years for most devices, there should be processes in place to proactively manage these assets.

[5:55] In manufacturing, the main type of cyberattack is related to operational technology (OT). Because workers are accessing data remotely, many ransomware attacks are taking advantage of compromised home networks and devices. There has been a 2,204% increase in reconnaissance against OT in 2021, according to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index Report.

[8:02] The biggest hurdle for manufacturing organizations is working across different teams and departments to understand the full scope of their infrastructure. This is a requirement to develop the optimal cybersecurity risk strategy.

[10:00] Legacy equipment is often the easiest point of entry for a cyberattack. Securing or segmenting the networks for these assets should be a priority.

[10:56] People and culture are essential to cybersecurity. Everyone plays an important role. Each department leader should partner with IT and security.

[14:46] The industry is seeing a rapid speed of change. The pandemic, workforce shortage, and supply chain impacts have dramatically shifted the adoption of digital technologies to support hybrid/remote work environments.

[19:00] There are three main elements to a cybersecurity program. First is getting full visibility of your infrastructure. Next is developing ways to protect or defend your network. And lastly, have a means to continuously monitor for potential threats.

[20:29] If you are unsure where your risks are, be sure to prioritize systems that can’t be patched or updated by segmenting the network onto different domains. Conduct penetration testing, both internal and external. This should be done by a third-party expert to get the full scale of your vulnerabilities. Utilizing an assessment, such as a Security Landscape Optimization, may also be helpful to help prioritize your risks.

[26:00] Based on recent data, the manufacturing industry is highly targeted by cybercriminals. As such, cyber insurance companies are now scrutinizing coverage and are requiring organizations to provide proof of a mature cybersecurity approach. It’s a matter of when and how often when it comes to cyberthreats in the manufacturing space.

Visit our Cybersecurity Awareness Month webpage for more resources. You can also hear us on Apple Podcasts, Amazon MusicSpotify, or Podbean.