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Quality Digest

Risk Management

Manufacturing Industry Is the Second Most Affected by Ransomware

NordLocker study discloses industries at a heightened risk of ransomware attacks, with manufacturers taking a troubling second place

Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 - 12:59

(NordLocker: Panama) -- Manufacturing is the No. 2 industry hit by ransomware, according to the new desk research by NordLocker. An analysis of 1,200 companies hit by cyber extortion between 2020 and 2021 revealed those parts of the market where ransomware is the most widespread.

NordLocker’s research has discovered that, out of 35 identified industries, the second greatest number of ransomware attacks was detected in the manufacturing sector. The 86 companies that were affected range from one of Europe's leading wire and cable producers that serves customers across the globe to a cast-stone manufacturer that mainly operates in a single U.S. state. The findings raise a question: Why do cyber criminals prioritize this particular economic activity?


What makes manufacturing a lucrative target for ransomware gangs?

The manufacturing business could be enticing to cyber racketeers because of the bedrock upon which the industry rests. “Manufacturing as a whole has wholeheartedly embraced the automation and digitization of its operations, which, on the one hand, have increased the industry’s efficiency exponentially, but on the other, opened up a Pandora’s box of modern malware that could knock the enterprise into a standstill,” says Oliver Noble, a cybersecurity expert at NordLocker, an encrypted cloud service provider. Similarly, he notes that manufacturers are at an increased risk of ransomware due to their close relationship with suppliers and clients, as “hacking into one company might allow the perpetrators to extort several at the same time.”

Furthermore, manufacturers usually store their patents on computers that might run on outdated software, thus risking getting them stolen by cybercriminals. If the data are valuable, they might end up sold off to competitors or companies producing counterfeits.

Even though big companies have a higher probability to offer hackers larger ransoms, small companies are not safe, either. “Small enterprises usually do not have the same cybersecurity checks in place as larger businesses, making them an easier target for ransomware attacks,” the expert notes. “That being said, major companies are still the preferred targets, as their deeper pockets and higher stakes make them more likely to pay up.” 

How to protect your business from ransomware

Although ransomware attacks are evolving, Oliver Noble provides some easy-to-implement cybersecurity tactics to serve your business as defense:

• Make sure your employees use strong and unique passwords to connect to your systems. Better yet, implement multi-factor authentication.
• Secure your email by training your staff to identify signs of phishing, especially when an email contains attachments and links.
• Implement and enforce periodic data backup and restoration processes. An encrypted cloud might be the most secure solution for this.
• Adopt zero-trust network access, meaning that every access request to digital resources by a member of staff should be granted only after their identity has been appropriately verified.

About NordLocker

NordLocker is the world’s first end-to-end file encryption tool with a private cloud. It was created by the cybersecurity experts behind NordVPN, one of the most advanced VPN service providers in the world. NordLocker is available for Windows and Mac OS, supports all file types, offers a fast and intuitive interface, and guarantees secure sync between devices. With NordLocker, files are protected from hacking, surveillance, and data collection. For more information: nordlocker.com.


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Quality Digest

For 40 years Quality Digest has been the go-to source for all things quality. Our newsletter, Quality Digest, shares expert commentary and relevant industry resources to assist our readers in their quest for continuous improvement. Our website includes every column and article from the newsletter since May 2009 as well as back issues of Quality Digest magazine to August 1995. We are committed to promoting a view wherein quality is not a niche, but an integral part of every phase of manufacturing and services.


This is incorrect

I think you mean trade secrets here, not Patents.  Patents are already publically disclosed information. Any one can get a copy of any patent, at least here in the US.

"Furthermore, manufacturers usually store their patents on computers that might run on outdated software, thus risking getting them stolen by cybercriminals. If the data are valuable, they might end up sold off to competitors or companies producing counterfeits."