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42% of UK industry suffered cyber-attacks in the past year

05 December, 2022

Nearly half of UK manufacturers (42%) have been victims of cyber-attacks in the past 12 months, according to new research by the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK and the security software and services provider, BlackBerry. More than a quarter of those surveyed (26%) reported substantial financial losses as the result of an attack, ranging from £50,000-250,000.

The research found that production stoppages were the most common result of the cyber-attacks (reported by 65% of those affected), with reputational damage ranking second (43%). Three quarters (74%) of those attacked report that good cyber-security measures prevented any impact on their businesses.

The survey reveals that some customers are now asking for reassurance from manufacturer on their cyber-security measures before signing contracts.

The Cybersecurity: UK Manufacturing report, based on a survey of 112 companies from a broad range of sizes and sectors, reveals that manufacturers are facing a variety of cyber-security risks, from simple employee errors to complex targeted attacks. They identify the top three cyber-security vulnerabilities as being: maintaining legacy IT (45%); a lack of cyber-skills (38%); and providing access to third parties for monitoring and maintenance (33%).

Almost one in three organisations (30%) say that Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) have been key drivers for them to improve their cyber-security. But just over a third (37%) say that worries over potential cyber-attacks have prevented them from introducing new connected technologies into their organisations, limiting potential productivity gains and holding them back from growth.

Smaller companies are often the most vulnerable to targeted cyber-attacks, yet many offer no cyber-security training to their staff. Almost two thirds (62%) of manufacturers now have formal cyber-security procedures in place to tackle incidents – 11% more than a year ago. A similar proportion have given a senior manager responsibility for cyber-security, while more than half (58%) have escalated this responsibility to the board level.

As businesses implement more digital technologies, their exposure to cyber-security risks increases. Almost all of those surveyed (95%) believe that cyber-security measures are necessary for their companies, while two thirds say the importance of cyber-security has increased in the past 12 months. However, most (54%) have decided not to take any further cyber-security precautions, despite adopting new technologies to boost production. The cost of the initial outlay on cyber-security measures is seen as the main barrier (cited by 40% of companies) along with the cost of maintaining the security systems (35%).

Three quarters (75%) of those surveyed think that Russia poses the biggest cyberthreat to their businesses, closed followed by China. Some 38% fear threats emanating from the UK.

“Digitisation is revolutionising modern manufacturing and becoming increasingly important to drive competitiveness and innovation,” says Make UK CEO, Stephen Phipson. “While cost remains the main barrier to companies installing cyber-protection, the need to increase the use of the latest technology makes mounting a defence against cyber-threats essential. No business can afford to ignore this issue and while the increased awareness across the sector is encouraging, there is still much to be done.

Almost two thirds of UK manufacturers report that cyber-security has become more important in their organisations over the past year
Source: Make UK Cyber Security Survey 2022

“Every business is vulnerable, and every business needs to take the necessary steps to protect themselves properly.”

Blackbery vice-president Keiron Holyome adds that “UK manufacturing industry is acutely aware of the threat that cyber-crime presents. With attacks increasingly targeting operational infrastructures at the heart of major economies, the bigger issue is the majority of manufacturers that may not be aware that they have already been compromised. In our experience, it is possible – indeed, likely – that malware is present in legacy infrastructure, just waiting for the right time to strike.

“Today’s sophisticated threats are not deterred by outdated antivirus and firewall protection; it’s time for industry management to bring in the big guns of preventative cyber-security to protect against all vulnerabilities, from accidental insider breaches through to the very real threat of nation state attacks.”

Make UK:  Twitter  LinkedIn

BlackBerryTwitter  LinkedIn  Facebook

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