The manufacturing sector has the highest average ransom payment across all sectors—$2,036,189 versus an average of $812,360.
This was a key findings in a new sectoral survey report, The State of Ransomware in Manufacturing and Production, by Sophos, a global leader in cybersecurity as a service.
Two thirds of manufacturing and production organisations surveyed reported an increase in the complexity of cyber-attacks, and 61% reported an increase in the volume of cyber-attacks compared to the previous year. The increase in complexity and volume is also 7% and 4% higher than the cross-sector averages.
“Manufacturing is an attractive sector to target for cybercriminals due to the privileged position it occupies in the supply chain,” says John Shier, senior security advisor at Sophos. “Outdated infrastructure and lack of visibility into the OT environment provides attackers with an easy way in and a launching pad for attacks inside a breached network.
“The convergence of IT and OT is increasing the attack surface and exacerbating an already complex threat environment. While having reliable backups is an important part of recovery, today’s ransomware threat requires a detailed response plan that includes human-led threat hunting capabilities.
“Complex attacks require comprehensive protection, which, for many organisations, will include the addition of managed detection and response (MDR) teams who are trained to look for and neutralise active attackers.”
While manufacturing and production had the highest average ransom payment, the percentage of organisations that actually paid the ransom was among the lowest across sectors (33%, versus 46% for the cross-sector average).
Additional findings include:
- The manufacturing and production sector had the lowest attack rate, tied with financial services, with only 55% of organisations surveyed targeted by ransomware.
- However, the percentage of manufacturing and production organizations hit by ransomware increased by 52% over the previous year’s report (up from 36% in the 2021 survey).
- The sector also had the lowest encryption rate (57% versus 65% for the cross-sector average).
- Only 75% of those surveyed reported having cyber insurance—the lowest percentage across all sectors.
- In light of the survey findings, Sophos experts recommend the following best practices for all organisations across all sectors:
- Install and maintain high-quality defenses across all points in the environment. Review security controls regularly and make sure they continue to meet the organization’s needs.
- Proactively hunt for threats to identify and stop adversaries before they can execute attacks – if the team lacks the time or skills to do this in-house, outsource to a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) team.
- Harden the IT environment by searching for and closing key security gaps: unpatched devices, unprotected machines and open RDP ports, for example. Extended Detection and Response (XDR) solutions are ideal for this purpose.
- Prepare for the worst and have an updated plan in place of a worst-case incident scenario.
- Make backups, and practice restoring them to ensure minimal disruption and recovery time.
To learn more about the State of Ransomware in Manufacturing and Production, download the full report from Sophos.com.
The State of Ransomware 2022 survey polled 5,600 IT professionals in mid-sized organisations across 31 countries, including 419 respondents from the manufacturing and production sector.