Cybercrime strikes most manufacturers during pandemic

According to Make UK, more than half of manufacturers have been victim to cyber-crime in the last year and many have lost thousands of pounds as a result.

The body, which is the largest of its kind representing UK manufacturers, found that 63 per cent faced losses of up to £5,000 with almost a quarter (22 per cent) revealing a cost to their business of between £5,000 and £25,000.

With many workers being forced to work from home since the start of lockdowns in March 2020, 50 per cent of businesses said that cybersecurity has become a higher priority since then. But more than half of manufacturers (59 per cent) cited cost as the biggest barrier to bolstering security, while 43 per cent have been asked by a customer or supplier to demonstrate or guarantee the robustness of their cybersecurity.

The automotive sector has been particularly hard struck, with 62 per cent of firms suffering a cyber-attack in the last year due to their lucrative IP.

In its report, Cyber Resilience: The Last Line of Defence, Make UK said the pandemic has “catapulted” cyber security to the forefront of boardroom agendas. Some 50 per cent of manufacturers said that cyber security has become a higher priority since the start of the Covid outbreak

“Digitisation is revolutionising modern manufacturing and has without doubt kept it running successfully over the past year,” said 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 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 also found that investment in the latest digital technologies is being hampered due to fears that they could open the door to greater risk of cyber attack. One in eight companies surveyed admitted they are currently not investing in new digital processes even though they know they should do so in order to compete.

In February, the National Cyber Security Centre began offering businesses personalised cybersecurity guidance in the form of a “Cyber Action Plan”.

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