The rising adoption of digital processes in manufacturing has fundamentally changed how this sector does business. The increased reliance on digitization and network connectivity has sharpened the risks of company data exfiltration, intellectual property damages, and more, especially those stemming from insiders. Insider threat actors operate from a position of trust that allows them to circumvent security and evade detection for months, if not years.
Manufacturing ranks among the top five industries with the highest reported insider breaches and privilege misuse. In Verizon's Data Breach Investigations Report, nearly 40% of the cybersecurity incidents in manufacturing traced to insiders, including partners and third-party vendors. The same report outlined 57% of database breaches to an insider within the organization.
According to a CISA report, the manufacturing sector reported the highest number of insider attacks among companies in the critical infrastructure sector. These incidents can be perpetrated by employees of all ranks, contractors, third-party vendors, and partners resulting in severe damages to businesses of all sizes. IBM's annual Insider Threat report estimates the average cost of insider attacks rose by 31% in 2020 to $11.45 million from the previous two years, and the number of insider incidents climbed by 47%.
Insider security breaches in manufacturing are now an impending reality requiring companies to safeguard themselves. This article dives deeper into the dynamics and challenges leading to the rise of insider incidents in manufacturing and ways to mitigate those.
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