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Types of Malware Attacks in the Manufacturing Industry

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Any manufacturing business can risk a cyberattack. It is important to know the different kinds of malware that can attack your business.

Cyber-attacks are on the rise in all industries. Still, the manufacturing industry is a particularly appealing target for cyber-criminals. It is due to the high number of vulnerabilities in industrial control systems (ICS). In this blog, we’ll look at the different types of cyber-attacks that have been observed in the manufacturing industry.

Malware Attacks in the Manufacturing Industry

A wide variety of malware types are used to attack the manufacturing industry. A malicious program created to propagate itself is known as a virus. It can be transferred from one device to another using removable flash drives and email attachments.

In the manufacturing industry, various attacks can damage the system rather than steal information. Malware can infect a system, giving an attacker full control of the system.

We can divide the types of malware into three general categories. First, there is malware that attacks the hardware of a system. The second category is malware that attacks the operating system. It can be anything from a logic bomb that triggers a system failure to a good old-fashioned Trojan. It tries to infect a computer when someone accesses a malicious web page.

The third category is that of the piece of software which attacks applications. This broad category includes viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malicious things. 

Most manufacturing companies are switching to cyber security for their facility, products, and data moving in and out of the facility. The main concern for these companies is that attackers are putting malware into the OT (operational technology) systems and serious can-do damage.

For example, in some cases, attacks and viruses can cause serious physical damage that could last for years. The goal for the attackers is to get direct access to the machines and mechanisms that run the factory. It allows them to open or close valves or whatever else they need to do to hurt the company. It is a serious threat and should be taken seriously by all companies.

Today, it’s more important than ever to have a fully integrated and efficient OT security plan. It keeps things running smoothly and securely. The OT security online guide provides valuable information on how to protect your physical assets best.

It means learning how to protect each endpoint and asset. You can also learn how to utilize firewalls and security software to protect corporate information.

1. Ransomware

Ransomware malware is a type of malware that locks you out of your digital assets and files until you pay the creator to unlock them. This type of malware is becoming increasingly popular with malicious entities on the internet.

It has been reported that the manufacturing industry has been hit with this type of malware more than any other industry. The ransomware is attacking the manufacturing industry in two ways. First, ransomware infects computers, mobile devices, and other digital devices. Second, the ransomware is infecting physical machines. 

The main goal of ransomware is to extract money from the victims by infecting their digital and physical assets. It is possible as most manufacturing factories still use outdated computer systems due to their efficiency and profitability.

Smartphone manufacturing giant Foxconn was reportedly hit by claims that its Mexico-based factory was hit by ransomware LockBit 2.0 in May. It halted operations at the plant due to a cyber-attack where hackers attempted to lock access to the plant’s production systems which make medical devices, consumer electronics, and industrial equipment. Foxconn has claimed it is currently dealing with this issue, although there are no reports on whether or not the important data has been lost due to this ransomware attack.

Black Energy Malware

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2. Black Energy Malware

The black energy malware attacks the manufacturing industry on physical assets. It includes plants and machines used to produce goods and services. This malware is delivered through a spear-phishing attack to a company’s personnel and infects the company’s network.

The malware targets industrial control systems used to monitor and control mechanical devices. The malware is made up of two parts: a dropper used to deliver the malware to a device and the malware itself.

The malware steals industrial secrets and causes physical damage to the systems it infects. Black energy is capable of destroying the firmware of drives and other hardware. Black energy targets companies in the manufacturing industry to steal industrial secrets.

The black energy virus infects several systems inside the Ukrainian power grid. This is an extremely powerful cyber attack that was first found in 2015. It targets the electrical systems of power plants, sometimes causing permanent blackouts. 

3. Phishing

The latest malware attack is targeting the manufacturing industry. The malicious software, called Phishing, has been found on the systems of many manufacturers. The malware seems particularly effective at compromising physical assets instead of digital ones.

It alters the firmware of a machine, which is what controls the physical operation of that machine. As a result, a hacker can take the machine remotely. It is a very dangerous attack because the hacker can use the machine to steal sensitive material. Such as trade secrets or proprietary company information.

4. Supply Chain Malware

A security breach in the manufacturing industry’s supply chain has caused many companies great trouble. Supply chain malware has become a big threat to the manufacturing industry.

A supply chain attack can occur when a company or organization relies on third-party components that have not been tested in their applications. If a vulnerability is discovered, malicious individuals can further exploit it.

In this instance, CodeCov is a software testing organization whose Bash uploader script (used to send code coverage reports to the company) was modified by an attacker. This supply chain exploits enabled attackers to redirect sensitive information such as source codes, secrets, and more from CodeCov’s customers to their servers.


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5. WannaCry

The WannaCry virus is a type of malware (malicious software) that attacks computers and networks. It infects your computer with the intent to gain access to your files and then hold them hostage.

 It is a worm that automatically spreads over the internet. It spreads through networks, computers, and the physical disk. The virus displays a message on your computer and asks you to pay in exchange for the key to unlock your computer.

Renault-Nissan is the automotive manufacturer conglomerate that builds and sells automobiles worldwide. In 2017 a large-scale cyberattack was carried out by the WannaCry, which stopped production at five plants under their namesake in England, France, Slovenia, Romania, and India. The malware had blocked access to important data, which affected the company’s production on a massive scale.

Final Thoughts

Manufacturing facilities are a common target for malware attacks. Because they often have to be connected to the outside world due to their work. It can cause security problems and make them more vulnerable to attacks.

If a malicious hacker gains access to the company’s network, they can manipulate the work being done and cause dangerous situations. A good security precaution is to change the default passwords on your devices. It can keep backed-up records in case of an attack.

If a company is hit with ransomware in manufacturing, the malware can lock the devices until the owner makes a payment. It can cost time and money. The company could even face legal consequences for not following safety procedures.

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