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Keep up with "Information Security" in Digital Manufacturing Industry

10 February 2023

  • Smart factories are becoming hugely popular, but the hyperconnectivity in the digital manufacturing process means manufacturers must be especially vigilant about possible cyber-attacks.
  • Manufacturers in the energy and infrastructure industries are especially vulnerable as they are the prime targets of cyber thieves who realize the opportunities from the growth of sustainability-related businesses.
  • Information security is not something that manufacturers can ignore or overlook. Investment in a comprehensive cyber threat management program that enhances information security across the organization is a must.

In a world where the role of digital technology has become unequivocal both in terms of creation and destruction, "Information Security" is something that organizations must scrutinize more seriously than ever. Following are the trends that entrepreneurs in various manufacturing industries should watch out for in order to be proactive and strengthen their defense mechanisms accordingly.

Deloitte had conducted a formal study on manufacturing cybersecurity and the associated risks, and discovered that 48% of surveyed manufacturers reported that operational risks, including cybercrimes, were the greatest threat in their smart factory initiatives. With the hyperconnectivity nature of smart factories, human resources, technologies, various physical production processes and intellectual property were all at risk.

In addition, there is a growing concern regarding cyberattacks on energy companies and critical infrastructure. Cyber criminals tend to focus on vulnerabilities in the IoT (Internet of Things) and operational technology (OT).

As more emphasis is placed on building a sustainable future, the motivation for energy-related cyberattacks also tends to increase. We have seen many scams related to energy, including phishing emails or messages to steal the personal information of high-end celebrities. There are also reported espionage attempts over green technology or energy policy along with information theft on sensitive environmental data.

While new technologies are introduced and adopted widely by consumers, new types of attacks also come about. The risks extend to the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EV) as hackers are learning how to control the vehicles and intercept conversations through microphones installed inside the EVs. Electric vehicle charging points are also at increased risk of attack. As a result, manufacturers are investing heavily in R&D to find solutions to protect consumer privacy and security. If any of them succeeds, they will have advantages and more business headway over their competitors.

More importantly, as more and more manufacturers around the world are moving towards the smart factory model, cyber risks are expected to continue to increase. What is worrisome is that many manufacturers are not fully prepared to protect themselves. This inadequate prevention applies not only to the current threats but also to the future threats as well as vulnerabilities posed by digital technology. This risk also extends to IoT which manufacturers are increasingly dependent on especially in the 5G era, so they need to inspect all their weak points to prevent any possible attacks. Weak IoT security can allow hackers to penetrate into the 5G networks or the local servers and wreak havoc. Therefore, manufacturers should invest in a comprehensive cyber threat management program that enhances information security across the organization in order to identify, prevent, respond to, and recover stolen information from all types of cyberattacks.

Entrepreneurs looking to bolster their cybersecurity operation can consult with the experts at "Assembly and Automation Technology 2023" by RX Tradex, which will be held during 21-24 June 2023 at BITEC, Bangkok, as the event will host a gathering of system integrators (SI) and experts in the field of factory automation as well.

Those interested in the latest updates on automation systems in the manufacturing industry, don’t forget to follow future issues of ME Blogs to stay on top of the latest movements on manufacturing and supporting industries through the most comprehensive automation system and solutions showcase in ASEAN at "Assembly and Automation Technology 2023."