Half of UK Manufacturers Suffered a Cyber-Attack Last Year

Half of British manufacturers and even more in the automotive sector suffered a successful cyber-attack last year, but cost remains a major barrier to improvements, according to an industry body.

Make UK, which represents the sector, claimed that the 47% figure overall rose to 62% for carmakers.

Although security has become a bigger priority for 50% of its members since the start of the pandemic, and 61% now have a board director responsible for cyber, 59% cited cost as the biggest barrier to building enhanced cyber protections.

As with organizations in many sectors, the move to mass remote working during the pandemic exposed many manufacturers to an increase in online threats. Make UK claimed the shift to remote production and remote monitoring of equipment, with staff working from home “on hastily supplied laptops” provided new opportunities for hackers to strike.

Manufacturing was the third most frequently targeted sector for ransomware last year globally, according to Trend Micro.

In the UK, 63% experienced losses of up to £5000 and nearly a quarter (22%) lost between £5000 and £25,000.

On the positive front, things slowly seem to be improving in the sector. Over two-fifths (43%) of respondents to the Make UK poll said they’ve been asked by a customer to demonstrate or guarantee the robustness of their cyber processes. Plus, one fifth claimed to have asked customers or suppliers to prove similar.

However, 44% still don’t offer staff cybersecurity awareness training and 47% don’t have a formalized incident response plan in place, the report found.

The cyber-threat to manufacturers is undoubtedly growing, warned Make UK CEO, Stephen Phipson.

“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 with too many businesses still burying their heads in the sand,” he argued.

“This is a strategic threat; failing to get this right as a nation could cost the UK economy billions of pounds and put thousands of jobs at risk. Every business is vulnerable and every business needs to take the necessary steps to protect themselves properly.”

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