Cyberattacks increase against manufacturing, healthcare industries

Report examines the shifting direction of cyberattacks noted attackers turning their attention away from financial services, in favor of attacks against manufacturing and healthcare companies.
Report examines the shifting direction of cyberattacks noted attackers turning their attention away from financial services, in favor of attacks against manufacturing and healthcare companies.

A new report that examines the shifting direction of cyberattacks noted attackers turning their attention away from the financial services sector, in favor of attacks against manufacturing and healthcare companies.

The IBM X-Force Cyber Security Intelligence Index report offers insights into cyberattacks targeting private sector companies. The study monitored 8,000 clients during a 12-month period, from January until the end of December 2015.

The study found that healthcare companies received the most cyberattacks of any other industry during 2015, confirming recent reports of an increase in new strains of ransomware, and many other vulnerabilities that threaten the healthcare sector.

However, the report also noted a striking increase in cyber incidents targeting manufacturing companies. The study, which included automotive, electronics, textile and pharmaceutical companies within the category, attributed the increase in attacks against manufacturing companies to an interest in intellectual property – particularly among chemical and automotive companies.

Automakers were especially hard-hit by attackers, the report said. Automotive companies received nearly 30 percent of all attacks against manufacturing firms.

Industry professionals have noted an uptick in attacks towards manufacturing companies. “Manufacturers are increasingly in the cross hairs of cyber attacks,” said Barak Perelman, CEO of Indegy, in an email to SCMagazine.com. “The age-old technique for protecting industrial networks from attacks, namely separating them from the rest of the world using an ‘Air Gap' is no longer a functionally or operationally feasible option in today's connected world.”

“Hackers today are focusing on the hidden areas within the origination of the operational technology layers, while identifying the vulnerable parts of the organization, Idan Udi Edry, CEO at Nation-E, said in an email to SCMagazine.com. “The biggest challenge in moving from network to control layer security is “overcoming the visibility blind spots created by operational technologies (OT), which differ significantly from Information Technology (IT).”

Financial services, a longtime favorite target among cybercriminals fell to the third place in the report's ranking of most-frequently attacked industries.

The report noted an overall increase in the number of incidents reported, which was attributed to “improvements in detection and policy refinement." There was a 64 percent increase in reported security incidents.

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