It may be going farther than some would like to say that Industry 4.0 is yet another industrial revolution. But call it whatever you like; the fact is, Industry 4.0 is gaining quite a bit of momentum, and executives should be highly aware of the changes to come from it and develop strategies to take advantage of the new opportunities it will bring.What is industry 4.0?
The "Fourth Industrial Revolution", 4IR, or Industry 4.0 can be classified as the significant transformation in the way we produce goods of all sorts with the development of automated and digitized manufacturing. From the industrial revolution's beginning with water and steam power, to electricity-based mass production and assembly lines in the second, the fourth industrial revolution will take what was started in the third with computers and automation and improve it with smart and autonomous systems powered by data and machine learning.
Most of these digital technologies have been in the works for a while now, and some are not quite ready for application at large. But, many of those technologies are now at a point where the advantages are starting to make sense for industrial applications.
What does Inustry 4.0 mean for cybersecurity?
There's a lot to be gained by utilizing Industry 4.0 technologies, so why hasn't uptake met expectations? The answer is pretty straight-forward: security.
As the manufacturing industry continues to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies, it has become an ideal target for internet hackers, giving them an unlimited opportunity to move across a manufacturing network, hoping across IT and OT systems for their malign activities. Bad actors may abuse IT systems for industrial espionage, intellectual property theft, IP leakage, or even production sabotage if they are not properly secured.
Industry 4.0 Cybersecurity Challenges
Evidence says that the manufacturing industry is the second-most hacked industry, right behind the construction industry, yet the sector is one of the most lacking when it comes to IT security.
Technologically sufficient factories or "smart factories" can be at risk to the same vulnerability exploitation, malware, denial of service (DoS), device hacking, and other common attack methods that other networks face. And the smart factory’s enhanced attack surface can make it extra difficult for manufacturing organizations to detect and defend against cyberattacks. These threats are especially evident with the dawn of the IoT, and they can result in serious consequences, especially in the realm of the Industrial IoT.
Here are a few new security challenges that organizations face in the age of Industry 4.0:
- Every connected device equals a potential risk
- Manufacturing systems like Industrial Control Systems (ICS) have unique susceptibilities that make them particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
- Industry 4.0 connects previously isolated systems, which increases the attack surface therefore increasing risk of attack
- Visibility is poor across separate systems and isolated environments
Also, its important to note that the battle is not a fair fight. The tough part is that organizations must stay on top of protecting a multitude of technology over a very large attack surface, cyber attackers need only to locate and attack the weakest link in the system.
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