Industry cyber report reveals most targeted sectors and sources

A report into cyber attacks suggests the UK technology and manufacturing sectors are the two industry sectors most targeted by cyber attacks, and that the most common source of these attacks is China. Attacks on the technology sector accounted for almost half of all incidents this year, up from a quarter in 2018. NTT Security’s 2019 Global Threat Intelligence Report suggests that attacks on manufacturing businesses accounted for about half of all cyber attacks in the UK last year, so this year’s fall to a fifth will have been welcome news.

Finance, which earlier this month was revealed to be the most attacked sector in EMEA, accounting for 30% of all attacks, takes third place for the UK, with 13% of attacks, falling some way short of the global figure of 17%. Business and professional services and healthcare take fourth and fifth place.

The annual GTIR is the result of NTT Security summarising data from trillions of logs and millions of attacks, and analysing threat trends based on log, event, attack, incident and vulnerability data from NTT Group operating companies. In the latest report, NTT Security analyses of attacks against 18 industry sectors.

Senior manager of NTT Security’s Cyber Security Consulting business, David Gray says that while attacks on critical national infrastructure tend to grab the headlines, the recent attacks on Norsk Hydro demonstrate the impact that cyber attacks can have on other sectors, such as manufacturing, and highlight the importance of effective incident response.

“The lines between traditional and digital manufacturing are blurring, where high value manufacturing and advanced technologies are key for global competitiveness and there is greater convergence of IT with operational technology, which brings with it greater complexity and risk. The problem is that operational technology has traditionally been something of a ‘dark art’ for IT and security teams who lack the knowledge and skills to effectively map their operational technology risk landscape and implement practical plans and processes.”

Once again China is the number one source of attacks by country against UK organisations (20%) followed by the US (16%) and France (10%). Apart from Sweden, the UK is the only country to see most attacks coming from China. Across EMEA, China is second (13%) just behind the US (16%) while at a global level again the US is top attack source on 22% followed by China on 13%.

Advice for manufacturing businesses (Source: NTT Security)

NTT Security advises manufacturing organisations to focus on four key areas when it comes to cyber security, though much of this advice is relevant to other sectors, too.

1. Get the basics right: without the right fundamentals in place, attacks do not need to be advanced to succeed. People are often a manufacturer’s greatest threat, so invest in staff awareness and training, and highlight the importance of collective responsibility.

2. Take an intelligence-driven approach to security. IT and security should avoid working in silos and having a ’not in my backyard' mentality by developing robust holistic processes and procedures.

3. Develop threat intelligence capabilities. There is no such thing as an isolated incident and there is a need to manage the whole incident by developing threat intelligence – pervasive visibility is essential.

4. Manufacturers are still failing to prepare. There is still an element of ‘head in the sand’, where they do not think it is going to happen to them. Having effective incident response capabilities that are tested regularly is key and enables organisations to respond quickly in order to mitigate the threat and identify the cause.

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