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Hacking: It Can Happen to You

A cyberattack can happen to anyone and any company—even if you have cybersecurity programs in place. Hackers don’t just target big multi-national firms nor do they discriminate based on industry.

* By Katie Kuehner-Hebert *

A cyberattack can happen to anyone and any company—even if you have cybersecurity programs in place. Hackers don’t just target big multi-national firms nor do they discriminate based on industry.

Everyone is at risk and hackers are constantly finding new targets and refining the tools they use to break through cyberdefenses. And, if your company is part of a supply chain, not only do you have to take into consideration a direct attack, but also a cyberattack that could occur to any one of the companies in your supply chain—and that is a very real threat.

“It is a mistake to think, ‘It won’t happen here,’” said Rick Fox, president and CEO of MHI member FOX IV Technologies Inc. “FOX IV was hit with ransomware demanding thousands of dollars.” Fortunately, one of the company’s cybersecurity policies is to back up the entire system every night, Fox said. Moreover, the company’s email system is provided by a vendor that has a secure cloud-based platform.

“We were able to recover in three hours and not pay the ransom,” he said.

Cybersecurity policies are especially important when companies have remote access to their equipment at a customer plant, Fox said. “Nothing would be more devastating for the relationship than to inadvertently download a virus into your customer’s WMS,” he said. “In addition, they may need to consider intentional acts like a disgruntled employee coding a virus into the software,” said Fox.

Christian Dow, president of MHI member Panther Industries Inc., considers cybersecurity to be of paramount importance—for everyone’s sake. “We not only protect our own data, but also ensure that we are not a point of vulnerability for our customers,” Dow said. “As equipment OEMs, we need to protect customers by ensuring our devices are up to date and free of viruses or malware before implementation, service or training site visits.”

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Emerging technologies such as IIoT, robotics and artificial intelligence provide exciting opportunities for supply chains. They also mean an exponential growth in the amount of data these supply chains generate. When properly utilized, this data can provide crucial information to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance transparency and customer service. But it comes with risk. The more digitized a supply chain becomes, the more it is at risk of cyberattack. Hackers are constantly finding new ways create data breaches they can exploit. The reality that most supply chains require third-party suppliers down the chain only heightens this threat. No matter the scale of your supply chain, it is essential to have solid cybersecurity processes in place to manage and mitigate the growing risk of cyberattack. That’s what this issue of MHI Solutions is all about, from cybersecurity threats in an IIoT world to dark data to the human factor in cybersecurity to blockchain as a potential solution.
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