Cyber attacks on UK companies, and advice on repelling them
UK manufacturing and technology sectors are vying for first and second place as the most cyber-attacked industry sectors, according to the 2019 Global Threat Intelligence Report (GTIR) from US firm NTT Security – the report is compiled from trillions of logs and millions of attacks, said NTT, whose data is analysed across 18 industry sectors.
“While manufacturing took top billing in the 2018 GTIR, with 46% of all cyber attacks in the UK, this year’s report shows a significant fall to second place with 20% of attacks,” according to NTT. “However, the tech sector, which attracted 23% last year, jumps to top spot with 47% of attacks in the UK.
Finance, which is apparently the most attacked EMEA sector, is lucky in the UK because it only gets third spot with 13%, followed by business-and-professional services (4%) and 3% for healthcare.
“While manufacturing may have dropped down a position, the fact that it is still attracting a fifth of all attacks against UK organisations is a major concern,” said NTT cyber security manager David Gray. “The critical national infrastructure sectors tend to grab the headlines, such as the attacks on the Ukrainian national grid in 2016, or the Wannacry attack on the NHS in 2017. However, the recent attacks on Norsk Hydro demonstrate the impact that cyber attacks can have on other sectors, such as manufacturing, and highlight the importance of effective incident response.”
- Get the basics right. Without the right fundamentals in place, attacks do not need to be advanced to succeed. People are often a manufacturer’s greatest threat, so invest in staff awareness and training, and highlight the importance of collective responsibility.
- Take an intelligence-driven approach to security. IT and security should avoid working in silos and having a ’not in my backyard’ mentality by developing robust holistic processes and procedures.
- Develop threat intelligence capabilities. There is no such thing as an isolated incident and there is a need to manage the whole incident by developing threat intelligence – pervasive visibility is essential.
- Manufacturers are still failing to prepare. There is still an element of ‘head in the sand’, where they do not think it is going to happen to them. Having effective incident response capabilities that are tested regularly is key and enables organisations to respond quickly in order to mitigate the threat and identify the cause.
And wake up to what counts as vulnerable.
“The lines between traditional and digital manufacturing are blurring,” said Grey, “where high value manufacturing and advanced technologies are key for global competitiveness and there is greater convergence of IT with operational technology, which brings with it greater complexity and risk. The problem is that operational technology has traditionally been something of a dark art for IT and security teams who lack the knowledge and skills to effectively map their operational technology risk landscape and implement practical plans and processes.”
Where are those attacks coming from?
- Once again China is the number one source of attacks (20%) by country against UK organisations, followed by the US (16%) and France (10%).
- Apart from Sweden, the UK is the only country to see most attacks coming from China.
- Across EMEA, China is second (13%) just behind the US (16%).
- Globally, again the US is top attack source (22%) followed by China on 13%.
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