Hackers Targeting Manufacturers: Are You at Risk?

In recent years, manufacturers have become primary targets for hacker attacks and other cyber threats. This issue is special to manufacturers not only because of the increased likelihood of the attack, but also because cyber-attacks present unique risks to manufacturing processes as manufacturing businesses. In fact, in response to the growing concern for attacks on government subcontractors and suppliers, the Department of Defense has issued the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement rules requiring government contractors to have specific cybersecurity measures in place. The increased attention on manufacturers is, in part, due to the unique risks a cyber-attack poses to the manufacturer and the manufacturing process.

For all businesses, there are certain cyber risks that the business owner should be aware of and protect against: loss of confidential or consumer information, protection of trade secrets, customer lists, business plans and more. In addition to facing these risks, manufacturers also face risks to their manufacturing processes and must consider the impact an attack could have on the actual manufacturing plant. In fact, there have been cases where a hacker successfully attacked a manufacturer’s network and used this as an opportunity to alter the settings on a manufacturer’s machines. Theoretically, such an attack could cause a manufacturing process to falter or fail. Further, many manufacturing plants serve as suppliers for larger manufacturing operations or government entities that may have more sophisticated protections against an attack. The hacker may target the smaller manufacturer to hurt the larger manufacturer or the government entity’s supply chain, in order to gain access to intellectual property, trade secrets, and more.

Due to the increased likelihood of attacks on manufacturers and the risk to smaller manufacturers in particular, manufacturers must be aware of their individual vulnerabilities. Not only will this help them to mitigate the probability of a cyber-attack but, should one occur, the manufacturer will be better prepared to address the loss of confidential information and/or harm to manufacturing equipment. For more information, please contact Peter Brosse at pbrosse@meyersroman.com, 216-831-0042, ext. 144, or Isaac Figueras at ifigueras@meyersroman.com, 216-831-0042, ext. 188, or your Meyers Roman attorney.