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How to Prevent Manufacturing Phishing

Posted by Mike Sterling

Sep 1, 2023 2:47:14 AM

Phishing is a big problem across every major industry—and manufacturing is no exception. When you're looking for a manufacturing partner that may have access to sensitive business information and product designs, choose one that has taken steps to protect itself and its clients from phishing scams. At Ardel Engineering, we proactively protect our clients' details and information, and we're currently completing our CMMC 2.0 certification to offer even better protection. Learn more about the emerging threat of phishing scams in manufacturing and what you can do to protect your organization.

What Is a Phishing Scam?

While there are multiple different types of cybersecurity risks, one of the biggest concerns is phishing scams — targeted communications sent to people to prompt a response that compromises the recipient or their organizations. For example, consumers may receive emails from someone pretending to be a bank representative attempting to make the recipient send them banking login credentials or account details. Similarly, phishing scam perpetrators often target employees of manufacturing companies or pretend to be those employees in client-oriented emails in the hopes of securing business details or confidential files.

Some of the most common types of fraud that impact manufacturers include corruption, non-cash theft, and billing scams. For example, a phisher may fraudulently pretend to be a vendor and send an invoice in an attempt to get paid or receive useful information.

How Does Phishing Impact Manufacturers?

While most people may primarily see phishing scams that impact individual consumers, large organizations are also vulnerable to attack. Manufacturers, in particular, remain vulnerable to phishing scams because of legacy processes, frequent intersections between unknown third parties, and outdated business processes that don't account for these threats.

Some common threats that can affect manufacturers more than businesses in other industries include:

  • Malware, or malicious software such as trojans: These get introduced to manufacturer intranets and systems through web-based downloads.
  • Reconnaissance, or the collection of information about potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities: These comprise approximately one in three of all cyberattacks. Hackers can focus on the following weak points:
    • PHP applications (75%)
    • DNS servers (14%)
    • SNMP or ICMP protocols (7%)
    • Web servers (2%)
    • WordPress (0.7%)

One real-world example of phishing that significantly impacted a manufacturer was the Seagate payroll scam, in which a scammer purporting to be the CEO emailed an employee to request the employee’s 2015 W-2 data. The employee fulfilled the request, releasing sensitive employee data. Similar scams include an incident with the Mattel CEO and the Gilbane Building Company.

How to Prevent Phishing Attacks in the Future

Phishing scams are increasingly sophisticated, but companies can take steps to minimize the risk they face. These steps include:

  • Educating Staff: Training staff on common cues of phishing scams or best practices for handling sensitive data can help protect your organization from casual phishing scams.
  • Using Cybersecurity Solutions: Technology can also help. Many email tools can automatically filter out spam and identify potential scams based on wording on the email sender's address.
  • Performing Security Checks: Frequent digital and physical security checks can protect organizations from phishing scams, social engineering, and other hazards.
  • Leveraging Firewalls: Firewalls monitor traffic throughout an organization's network and can automatically block or filter traffic between different networks.
  • Implementing Multi-Layered Security: No one layer of security is enough to protect against all types of attacks. However, by layering many different forms of security, your team can cover more and more of any remaining gaps.

Protect Your Manufacturing Processes From Phishing With Support From Ardel Engineering

Manufacturing organizations are uniquely vulnerable to phishing scams because of lagging cybersecurity processes and the tempting target that payroll, product files, and other confidential data present to attackers and scammers. Contact us today to learn more about what we're doing to actively protect our organization and our clients through secure manufacturing.