Tag Archives: Data Breach


Cybersecurity is a concern for every business in today’s market. It’s not so much about if you’ll be the target of a data breach, but when. Businesses of all sizes can become targets of cyberattacks, and these attacks can be devastating.

Manufacturing companies have largely lagged behind on cybersecurity, putting them at risk for damaging data breaches. In some ways, the industry has been safer from cyberattacks than many other sectors as it has been slower to adopt advanced technology, such as “smart” systems.

However, that’s changing at a critical time: when supply chains are already struggling to meet consumer demands. In recent years, the number of cyberattacks on manufacturing companies has spiked, prompting more organizations to reevaluate their security protocols.

Here are some ways to protect manufacturers and supply chains from cyberattacks.

Understand Common Cyberattack Tactics

To protect against security breaches, it’s important to know which techniques hackers are using to access valuable data. In the manufacturing industry and within supply chains, the most common types of attacks tend to be ransomware, phishing, and internal breaches.

Ransomware involves taking control of a company’s data and asking for money in exchange for returning control. This is often a very successful type of attack because manufacturing companies typically can’t afford to shut down while they work to regain control.

Phishing schemes involve sending emails with fraudulent content that aims to get something from the recipient. For example, a hacker posing as a manager through email could request confidential company information from an unsuspecting employee, gaining access through a supply chain.

Internal breaches can occur through unsecured devices or even employees bent on theft or revenge. Protecting against these breaches is especially difficult as employee access is essential for running a business.

Follow Best Practices for Protecting Data

If you haven’t done a security audit in a while (or maybe ever), it’s a good first step in implementing better security protocols. Get up to speed on today’s best practices and go over your current strategy. Where do you need to improve? Once you know what steps you need to take, update all your policies and documentation surrounding cybersecurity.

Remember That Cybersecurity Isn’t Just About Tech

Unfortunately, protecting a company’s networks isn’t just about making sure you have the right security tech in place. People are the weakest link in any cybersecurity effort, and your employees can create vulnerabilities unintentionally.

Ongoing training is important for keeping awareness high in your organization. Teach people how to spot signs of an attack and what to do if they notice those signs. Talk to them about device and password security, phishing, and other important cybersecurity topics so they stay top-of-mind. Creating a culture around security is key for modern businesses.

Recognize the Danger of Third-Party Services

Supply chains have become extremely vulnerable to cyberattacks. The biggest reason for this is the number of third-party services that are involved in every supply chain. Organizations have to provide confidential information to third parties, meaning the data that’s passed along is only as safe as the security used by the third parties.

Choosing vendors carefully helps, but the more complex the chain, the more likely a breach will be. Sometimes, manufacturers have security requirements in their contracts with third parties, in an attempt to minimize risks.

Look Into New Cybersecurity Tech Options

Some technology solutions for cybersecurity, such as encryption, are still very effective for keeping data safe, but there are also emerging options that are promising for organizations that want to increase security. Blockchain technology, for example, is more secure than a traditional centralized data system.

Although it was created specifically for cryptocurrency, more industries are now using the technology to improve security. Staying on top of innovations in cybersecurity can help you decide on the best solutions for your organization and ensure that your security stays up to date.

Prepare for the Worst

Unfortunately, it’s probably just a matter of time before your organization experiences a cyberattack. With all the vulnerabilities within supply chains and the evolving tactics of hackers, a successful attack is almost inevitable.

You can reduce the potential damage from an attack by preparing for the worst, however. Having a cyberattack response plan can help ensure that your team will spot the attack quickly and know how to respond. Having a solid response plan will reduce costs and reputation loss from an attack.

Manufacturing and Supply Chain Cyber Attacks are Serious

Supply chain issues have been a major problem since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some manufacturers are mostly producing luxury goods, it’s important to remember that supply chains are critical in supplying essentials as well, from food and water to energy. This means that attacks on supply chains can have devastating outcomes. Cybersecurity is critical for ensuring that communities all over the world have access to what they need when they need it.

*This article is written by Andrew Deen. Andrew has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and is currently writing a book about scaling up business. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewDeen14.

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When you think of shipping and transportation, perhaps the last thing you consider is the threat that cybercrime can pose to the industry. However, as technology advances and systems become increasingly connected to online networks, cybersecurity is a necessity of modern shipping logistics.

Meanwhile, all kinds of digital attacks are increasing against a wide variety of industries. In this dangerous landscape, shipping companies must build strategies and implement processes that increase the safety of their digital systems.

From the rising threats to the evolving role of cybersecurity in shipping logistics, here’s what you should know.

The Rising Threat

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, shutting down economies and causing widespread financial uncertainty, hackers took it as an opportunity to increase their malicious efforts. As many as 90% of surveyed IT leaders said they experienced an increase in cyber attacks due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, 93% said they had to delay key security projects in order to manage remote-work transitions.

This demonstrates the vulnerability of online global systems. Threats like the Kwampirs malware are running rampant and IT leaders are caught off-guard while attempting to deal with other pressing concerns.

But what does this have to do with the shipping logistics industry?

All kinds of new and highly connected technologies are propagating in the fleet management market. These innovations consist of sensors and monitors in the form of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, AI route-improvement software, and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) that improve driver safety through assisting with difficult and repetitive tasks. These in-vehicle monitoring systems bring location tracking and enhanced driver analytics to fleet management, creating altogether safer roads.

But what happens if these systems get hacked?

June of 2017 was a preview of exactly that. When 80 logistics and transportation ports were struck by ransomware, shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk lost $300 million. Meanwhile, many deliveries were held and drivers forced to idle. The attack disrupted a complex supply chain and the effects rippled through various markets.

Maersk was a victim in 2018 and needed cybersecurity in shipping logistics

A.P. Moller-Maersk lost $300 million in 2017 due to a cyber attack.

As we come to increasingly rely on connected tech and even fully autonomous vehicles, the threat of cyberattack can be dangerous both financially and physically. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to better ensure supply chain cybersecurity.

Initiatives to Enhance Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is needed in virtually every industry in today’s highly digital world. Securing your systems, however, can be difficult without the right professional assistance and reliable data services.

But finding the right help can be a challenge in its own right. Information systems professionals are in high demand, especially in the manufacturing and supply sector, where experts with the right skill set can earn their piece of a $2.17 trillion market.

Additionally, all kinds of IT personnel can build a better approach to secure shipping logistics through strategies like the following:

1. Assess compliance standards across the board.

A variety of data security standards are present across industries, such as HIPAA in healthcare or PCI-DSS in retail. Ensure all third-party suppliers and vendors meet relevant standards to facilitate safer information transfer.

2. Secure your software.

Software can be a vulnerability in supply chains. Protect yours with firewalls, VPNs, Transport Layer Security (TLS), and more to better ensure the safety of your networks and equipment.

3. Limit and monitor access.

Every user should maintain their own strong passwords and clearances. Data systems like blockchain can be helpful in securing information behind individualized user authorization keys, complete with immutable timestamps recording access to the system.

4. Educate your employees.

Avoiding a data breach can come down to simply educating your employees on avoiding links from unknown senders. Ensure all shipping logistics workers understand the importance of strong private passwords and maintain an awareness of common phishing practices.

5. Continuously run vulnerability assessments.

Risk assessments should be run at consistent intervals to help keep systems updated and functioning with the protections they need. Your assessments should include all IoT devices and networked equipment that could present an access point for an attacker.

When it comes to securing the digital systems throughout your shipping logistics processes, each of these strategies can mean the difference between a data breach or a prevented hack. Ensure your current systems are protected by a thorough baseline of SSL and VPN usage. Then, keep your employees educated in digital hygiene.

Evolving Roles in Cybersecurity and Logistics

With a comprehensive and consistent analysis of your data systems, you can mitigate the potential of a costly cyber attack. As our use of tech increases, cybersecurity will continue to play a greater role in shipping logistics.

Much like how a barcode system is now essential to inventory management, digital tools and AI technology are essential to managing supply chains with a modern edge. Systems like delivery and route management software can be the perfect way to increase your shipping efficiency, but the payoff won’t be nearly as great if your systems are compromised by malware.

Roles within shipping logistics are changing in consideration of the virtual shift. Understand the shifting nature of the industry and implement cybersecurity best practices like these to better protect your supply chains.

This article is written by guest author Beau Peters. View more of Beau’s articles here.


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