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47% of manufacturers have suffered cyber-attacks in past year

04 May, 2021

Almost half (47%) of UK manufacturers have been the victim of cyber-crime during the past 12 months, as staff began working remotely after the Covid pandemic struck. According to a new report from the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK, cyber-criminals have been exploiting the emergency working measures, with almost a quarter (22%) of companies saying that each cyber-breach cost them up to £25,000, and 6% losing more than £100,000 after an attack. The automotive sector is the most common target, with 62% of companies in the sector reporting that they have suffered a cyber-attack in the past year.

More than half of UK manufacturers (59%) cite cost as being the biggest barrier to becoming more cyber-secure, followed by lack of awareness on 18%. One in eight say that the risk of cyber-attacks is deterring them from adopting digital technologies.

In the report, called Cyber Resilience – The Last Line of Defence, Make UK says that after companies had to switch almost overnight to relying on staff working from home to monitor equipment and production, they realised how their vulnerability had increased.

Half of manufacturers report that cyber-security has become a higher priority since the arrival of Covid, with 61% now having a designated board director responsible for cyber-protection.

But 44% of manufacturers still do not offer cyber-security training to their staff, and 47% do not have a formal plan or process in case of an attack. Two thirds (66%) report that cyber-security is not discussed on a regular basis by their board, despite the heightened risks from remote working.

Some 43% of manufacturers have been asked by customers to demonstrate or guarantee the robustness of their cyber-processes, while one in five of the manufacturers have themselves asked customers or suppliers to show that they are cyber-resilient and have effective measures to counter any attacks.

More than half of UK manufacturers cite cost as the main barrier to them becoming more cyber-secure
Source: Make UK Cyber Security Survey 2021

Some 52% of those polled report that they have taken out insurance to cover losses from cyber-incidents, while 87% believe they have the right tools and technologies to deal with any cyber-incursion. Almost all (91%) think they have the knowledge to assess cyber-risks.

In the two years since Make UK last surveyed cyber-security in UK manufacturing, it reports that there have been “significant” improvements in cyber-awareness, with attacks on the sector falling by 10%.

“Digitisation is revolutionising modern manufacturing and has without doubt kept it running successfully over the past year,” says Make UK CEO, Stephen Phipson. “The rewards are obvious – technological leaps in the design, development, fabrication and operation of the goods and services the UK makes. But the cyber-security threat to manufacturers is growing and evolving with it.

“No business can afford to ignore this issue,” he adds, “and while the increased awareness across the sector is encouraging, there is still much to be done with too many businesses still burying their heads in the sand. This is a strategic threat – failing to get this right as a nation could cost the UK economy billions of pounds and put thousands of jobs at risk. Every business is vulnerable and every business needs to take the necessary steps to protect themselves properly.”

Make UK:  Twitter  LinkedIn

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