A Quarter of UK Manufacturers Suffer Cyber-Attack Losses...

Nearly half of manufacturers have been the victim of cyber-crime, with the sector now the third most targeted for attack.

Cyber security is nothing new to any business operating in today’s connected world, but for many manufacturers, the threats are more acute than ever. The current pace of digital change, coupled with increased digital interconnections around the globe are further exacerbating the risks of cyber intrusions.

Industrial and manufacturing companies have often not considered themselves a lucrative target for cyber criminals and thus, not surprisingly, have taken fairly minor measures to secure their systems. After all, they don’t handle large volumes of online transactions, nor do they have databases filled with the details of millions of customers.

It also doesn’t seem like this sector should be greatly threatened by nation-state hackers; sabotaging a factory or power plant could hardly impact a tense diplomatic conflict.

Well, the hackers don’t seem to agree anymore.


Criminals are no longer just interested in the immediate gain of stealing or extorting money, nor in stealing volumes of low-profit PID like user details and credit card numbers. Instead, they are now after intellectual property (IP).

Having targeted academia, the defense industry and the financial sector, they are now focusing on more traditional industries such as manufacturing. These businsses are less advanced in terms of cyber-security and usually only concerned with securing their operating environment . Hence, they mostly neglect the wider IT security issue, and unknowingly allow themselves to be easy targets.

The increased connectivity of smart machinery, a shift known as Industry 4.0, raises the stakes. Industry 4.0 heralds a new age of connected, smart manufacturing, responsive supply networks, and tailored products and services. 

Through its use of smart, autonomous technologies, Industry 4.0 strives to marry the digital world with physical action to drive smart factories and enable advanced manufacturing.2 But while it plans to enhance digital capabilities throughout the manufacturing and supply chain processes and drive revolutionary changes to connected devices, it also brings with it new cyber risks for which the industry is unprepared. 

Developing a fully integrated strategic approach to cyber risk is fundamental to manufacturing value chains as they marry operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT)—the very force driving Industry 4.0.

And While 91% of businesses surveyed say they are investing in digital technologies in readiness for the 4th Industrial Revolution, 35% consider that cyber-vulnerability is inhibiting them from doing so fully. This suggests that opportunities are being missed and some businesses risk falling behind in the race to digitise. The result must not be that the UK falls away from the vanguard of manufacturing excellence.


According to a new report published by EEF and AIG and carried out by The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), Nearly half of manufacturers have been the victim of cyber-crime, with the sector now the third most targeted for attack

Over half (59%) of respondents said they’ve been asked by a customer to demonstrate or guarantee the robustness of their cyber-security processes, and 58% have asked the same of a business within their supply chain.

A worrying 37% of manufacturers said they could not do this if asked today.

Indeed, cyber attacks cost British industry £34 billion a year according to CEBR, so it’s clear that cyber protection needs to be a boardroom-level discussion that is given as much consideration as safety or high availability.

First and foremost, companies in the manufacturing sector must realise that they can no longer ignore this very concrete threat. As a business that lives or dies on continuous operation, being knocked offline and shutting down production lines due to cyber attacks is an unacceptable risk. 

You also simply cannot risk giving away your precious blueprints, secret formulas and unique assembly processes to threat actors. This type of IP theft makes it simple for an industrial thief to design a product comparable to your own. 

Furthermore, because the criminals do not have to incur the massive costs that you invested in R&D, they can sell their ripoff product at a much lower price, cutting both your competitive advantage and margins.

To stay ahead of the threats, you need the most cutting-edge solutions available. Instead of being two steps behind with costly, in-house resources and tools, leverage SyTech IT’s expertise.

Get a Cyber-Security Audit of your business now

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Based In Keele, SyTech IT provide IT Solutions, Support & Systems for Industry and multi channel distribution businesses within Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Lancashire, Warwickshire, Birmingham and Manchester.

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