How Does IIOT Impact Cybersecurity In Manufacturing?

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), a sub-category of the Internet of Things (IoT), has been transformative for many industries. A market sized at over $263 billion in 2021, IIoT encompasses sensor-embedded devices, cloud-based data, and interconnected machines which reduce downtime, improve performance, and lower costs. Manufacturing firms are leading the charge in IoT adoption; of the forecast 83 billion connected IoT devices by 2024, 70% of these are expected to be in the industrial sector.

How does the manufacturing sector use IIoT?

1. Maintenance Prediction

As well as being able to pinpoint live issues, connected sensors can help manufacturers predict when a machine will likely break down. By gradually recognizing long-term patterns and identifying abnormal behavior earlier, predictive maintenance software helps limit downtime and improve safety.

2. Inventory Management

IIoT enables manufacturers to track the location of inventory items, their movements in the supply chain, and the volume of materials required for a specific manufacturing cycle. Finding equipment within inventories is so time-consuming that one manufacturer found itself saving $3 million per year on each of its production lines once location-tracking sensors were installed.

3. Quality Control

IIoT streamlines the quality control process with thermal and video sensors that can collect product data and test materials throughout different stages of the manufacturing cycle, catching and rectifying any flaws before the product reaches the market.

4. Worker Safety

IoT-enabled wearable devices can be used to monitor employees’ health metrics while working on the factory floor. Collecting data on stress levels, heart rate, and fatigue can help business owners optimize the safety and wellbeing of their workers.

Cybersecurity and IIoT

Despite its clear benefits, IIoT has made manufacturing systems a perfect target for cybercriminals. Hackers are better able to exploit the larger attack surface of these systems, with incidents targeting Operational Technology (OT) environments increasing by over 2,000% in 2021. And many security issues stem from gaps in protection such as exposed ports, inadequate authentication, and legacy applications that have become obsolete; 47% of attacks on manufacturing are caused by vulnerabilities that the organization had not or could not patch.

These challenges have caused attacks like ransomware and server access to increase dramatically across the manufacturing industry. In 2021, manufacturing experienced more ransomware attacks than any other industry, overtaking financial services and insurance. In targeting the manufacturing industry, hackers aim to cause disruption throughout the supply chain, affecting partners and customers and pressuring the organization into paying the ransom.

Even if victims refuse to pay a ransom, the financial impact can be crippling. Norsk Hydro, one of the world’s largest producers of lightweight metals, was forced to halt production after falling victim to a ransomware attack, costing the organization $52 million in lost revenue. And these disruption-related costs are often passed down to consumers through supply and demand imbalance, for instance when wholesale meat prices spiked in 2021 after a ransomware attack on JBS Foods, the world’s largest meat processing company.

Securing IIoT for manufacturers

For manufacturers to secure their IIoT infrastructure and protect their client data, IP, and reputation within the industry, they need to understand the current and potential threats to their business. Centripetal’s CleanINTERNET service works at massive scale and machine speed to aggregate over 3,500 cyber threat feeds, proactively shielding against 99% of attacks identified by the global threat intelligence community. The Centripetal team then provides comprehensive findings on emerging threats via our team of threat analysts, enabling overburdened teams to focus on other business activities.

By creating a Zero Trust environment, CleanINTERNET helps manufacturers comply with security standards such as the GDPR, ISO/IEC 27000, and ISO 15408. By operationalizing threat intelligence, CleanINTERNET provides manufacturers with customizable intelligence and superior protection against all known risks and zero-day threats.

Find out more about IIoT here and get in touch with the Centripetal team for more information about CleanINTERNET and its applications.


Experience how CleanINTERNET® can proactively protect your organization.