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A recent Deloitte survey revealed that 76% of manufacturers are adopting digital tools to gain enhanced transparency in their supply chain. However, as the manufacturers adopt these new tools, they are exposed to new vulnerabilities and cyber threats, particularly phishing attacks targeting their supply chain and vendors (Vendor Email Compromise). 

With a workforce of over 12.5 million manufacturing employees in the US—many of whom aren’t aware of the severity of the phishing landscape—cyber attackers have made this a favorite industry for phishing attacks. An IBM report ranked manufacturing as the most targeted sector for ransomware attacks in 2022.

To safeguard against these phishing threats, manufacturers must adopt a multi-faceted cyber defense. 

3 Cybersecurity Essentials for Manufacturers Against Phishing Threats

Choose Trusted Vendors 

The manufacturers rely on a critical network of vendors and partners responsible for the delivery of quality goods—but each vendor has their own set of vulnerabilities and risks. To minimize the risks of vendor-related cyber-attacks, manufacturers must rigorously assess the cybersecurity protocols of their partners. This includes evaluating their GDPR compliance and how they handle data, understanding their security policies, and ensuring they have robust measures against phishing attacks. Regular audits and compliance checks are essential to maintain a secure supply chain network. By partnering with vendors prioritizing security, manufacturers can significantly mitigate the risk of being compromised through third-party vulnerabilities. 

Invest in Adaptive AI Phishing Detection 

Emerging technologies, like AI, can be a double-edged sword. While they enhance manufacturing processes, they also expose companies to new cyber risks. With the rapidly growing availability of AI tools, cybercriminals have found new ways to expose vulnerabilities in legacy email security solutions to launch successful phishing campaigns. To counter this, manufacturers should invest in adaptive AI-based phishing detection systems. These systems use machine learning algorithms and human feedback to analyze patterns and detect anomalies that identify previously unknown phishing tactics. Unlike static AI-based systems, adaptive AI-based tools continually learn and evolve, adapting to the ever-changing tactics of cybercriminals. 

Implement a Robust Awareness Culture 

The human element plays a crucial role in cybersecurity. Implementing a robust security awareness culture through regular training and testing is vital. This training not only feeds into the improvement of the adaptive AI detection model but also serves as a last line of defense. 

Regular simulated phishing training and testing can help reinforce and educate employees on relevant phishing trends and keep the workforce vigilant. A culture of cybersecurity awareness goes beyond training; it involves creating an environment where employees feel responsible and empowered to act against potential threats. Encouraging open communication about suspicious emails and fostering a proactive attitude towards cybersecurity can significantly reduce the risk of successful phishing attacks. 

Jeff Rezabek
Post by Jeff Rezabek
January 12, 2024