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Addressing Cybercrime in Your Business

Cybercrime is a clear and present danger in the modern manufacturing landscape. This article discusses how organizations can effectively prepare for digital attacks, examine response strategies, and identify resources that businesses can use to recover.

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In the 2020s, web-enabled digital technology has become an essential component of production processes in every Canadian manufacturing facility. Unfortunately, this level of technology integration has created a new obstacle to manufacturers’ security: cybercrime. Current world events — including the Russia-Ukraine conflict — have caused a significant uptick in acts of data theft and digital fraud throughout Canada’s manufacturing industry. Without effectively defending their vital information, resources, and finances, manufacturing businesses may see heavy losses in efficiency, productivity, and profit regardless of size or industry. Let’s examine how cybercrime can be prepared for, addressed, and recovered.

It’s essential to realize the frequency at which cybercrime occurs. According to recent data presented by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Canadian businesses are the third most-likely group to be targeted for acts of cybercrime globally, and the manufacturing sector is one of the three most-targeted entities in that group. The most common cybercrime incidents are ransomware attacks, which hold crucial data hostage in exchange for large sums of money (or, more recently, cryptocurrency). These attacks can be catastrophic when they compromise large chunks of data at once. When private information is distributed throughout a system instead of concentrated in one location, cybercriminals face much more difficulty acquiring what they need to justify ransom. Disseminating this data can be performed through network segmentation, regularly updated hardware and software, multi-factor privacy measures, and the disabling of unused technology. Remember that a device turned off can’t be accessed by cybercriminals — be sure to shut down technology when it isn’t in use.

The recent prominence of cybercrime has left many business leaders confused about how it can be responded to. Since the late 2010s, Canada’s federal and provincial law enforcement bodies have built divisions exclusively for helping private entities recover from cybercrime. Businesses now have several methods of reporting incidents or suspicion of digital attacks. By contacting their local police forces once a cybercrime has taken place, manufacturers can be confident that cybercriminals can be found and punished accordingly with the digital resources available to modern officers. A business’s proactivity is also crucial to recovering from cybercrime. By developing and implementing a cyber security-based Incident Response Plan, manufacturers can immediately begin taking the necessary steps to reclaim their lost data or finances. OPP officers recommend that manufacturers create Incident Response Plans as soon as possible and ensure that their employees are well-aware of what actions to take in the case of a cybercrime incident to prevent further loss.

Cybercrime may seem like an intimidating concept to Canada’s manufacturers, but, as with all forms of crime, its impact can be heavily mitigated through a business’s collective knowledge, preparedness, and strategy. By making informed decisions when storing data of any kind on digital systems, business leaders can remain secure in their information’s privacy. Ensure that your organization has the resources necessary to address cybercrime, and you’ll be able to stay safe, productive, and profitable when using web-enabled technology.

To discuss opportunities to hear more on this topic, don’t hesitate to contact Steve Holmgren, EMC’s Manufacturing Consortium Manager for Eastern Ontario. Attend EMC events frequently for knowledge and expertise specialized in the Canadian manufacturing sector.

EMC hosted an event on cybersecurity presented by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) force’s cybercrime division. The material discussed in this article is based on the information described during that event. It is recommended that all manufacturers verify cybercrime response protocol with their local authorities.

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