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BlackBerry/Make UK Research Reveals UK Manufacturing Sector Under Threat as Almost Half Suffer Cyberattack in the Last 12 Months

LONDON, Dec. 5, 2022 /CNW/ -- Nearly half of Britain's manufacturers (42%) have been a victim of cyber-crime over the last 12 months according to new research, Cyber Security: UK manufacturing, published today by Make UK, the manufacturers' organisation and BlackBerry Limited. Over a quarter of respondents (26%) reported substantial financial loss as the result of an attack, with losses ranging from £50,000 to £250,000.

BlackBerry Logo Black (PRNewsfoto/Blackberry Limited)
BlackBerry Logo Black (PRNewsfoto/Blackberry Limited)

As businesses adopt more digital technologies, their exposure to cybersecurity risks increases. Some 95% say cybersecurity measures are necessary for their company, while two thirds said the importance of cybersecurity has increased in the last 12 months. Worryingly, the majority (54%) decided not to take any further cybersecurity action despite adopting new technologies to boost production.

UK manufacturers face a battery of cybersecurity risks, ranging from simple employee error to complex targeted attacks.  The top three cybersecurity vulnerabilities were identified as maintaining legacy IT (45%), a lack of cyber skills within the company (38%), and providing access to third parties for monitoring and maintenance (33%). The research also found that production stoppages were the most common result of a cyberattack (65%), with reputational damage ranking second (43%).

Adoption of the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) is shown to be the biggest driver behind cybersecurity adoption for one in three organisations (30%). These new IoT processes, such as automated sensors driving efficiencies, sit at the heart of manufacturing production and are seen as business-critical functions. However, just over a third (37%) say that concerns about cyber vulnerability have prevented the introduction of new connected technologies into their organisation, hampering potential productivity gains and holding companies back from growth.

Targeted attacks are the most common, with smaller companies often the most vulnerable yet many offering no cybersecurity training to staff. 62% of manufacturers now have a formal cybersecurity procedure in place in the event of an incident, up 11% on last year's figures with the same number giving a senior manager responsibility for cyber security. More than half (58%) have escalated this responsibility to board level.

Stephen Phipson, CEO of Make UK, the manufacturers' organisation said: "Digitisation is revolutionising modern manufacturing and becoming increasingly important to drive efficiencies in this incredibly difficult inflationary environment. While cost remains the main barrier to companies installing proper cyber protection, the need to increase the use of the latest technology makes mounting a proper defence against cyber threats essential. No business can afford to ignore this issue and while the increased awareness across the sector is encouraging, there is still much to be done. Failing to get this right could cost the manufacturing industry billions of pounds and put thousands of jobs at risk. Every business is vulnerable, and every business needs to take the necessary steps to protect themselves properly."

The composition of cyber defence across UK industry is wide – with 89% of companies investing heavily in antivirus software and firewalls to secure internet connections. Threats originating in Russia and China are now seen as the main challenge to cybersecurity for UK manufacturers (75%).

Keiron Holyome, VP UKI, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at BlackBerry said: "Clearly, the UK manufacturing industry is acutely aware of the threat that cybercrime presents. With attacks increasingly targeting operational infrastructures at the heart of major economies, the bigger issue is the majority of manufacturers that may not be aware that they have already been compromised. In our experience, it is possible – indeed, likely – that malware is present in legacy infrastructure, just waiting for the right time to strike. Today's sophisticated threats are not deterred by outdated antivirus and firewall protection; it's time for industry management to bring in the big guns of preventative cybersecurity to protect against all vulnerabilities, from accidental insider breaches through to the very real threat of nation state attacks."

Further details can be found in the report, Cybersecurity: UK Manufacturing, available for free download from https://www.makeuk.org/home/insights/reports/2022/12/01/cyber-security-in-manufacturing.

About Make UK

Make UK, the manufacturers' organisation, is the representative voice of UK manufacturing, with offices in London, Brussels, every English region and Wales.

Collectively we represent 20,000 companies of all sizes, from start-ups to multinationals, across engineering, manufacturing, technology and the wider industrial sector. We directly represent over 5,000 businesses who are members of Make UK. Everything we do – from providing essential business support and training to championing manufacturing industry in the UK and the EU – is designed to help British manufacturers compete, innovate and grow.

From HR and employment law, health and safety to environmental and productivity improvement, our advice, expertise and influence enables businesses to remain safe, compliant and future-focused.

About BlackBerry

BlackBerry (NYSE: BB; TSX: BB) provides intelligent security software and services to enterprises and governments around the world. The company secures more than 500M endpoints including 215M vehicles. Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company leverages AI and machine learning to deliver innovative solutions in the areas of cybersecurity, safety, and data privacy solutions, and is a leader in the areas of endpoint security, endpoint management, encryption, and embedded systems.  BlackBerry's vision is clear - to secure a connected future you can trust.

BlackBerry. Intelligent Security. Everywhere.

For more information, visit BlackBerry.com and follow @BlackBerry.

Trademarks, including but not limited to BLACKBERRY and EMBLEM Design are the trademarks or registered trademarks of BlackBerry Limited, and the exclusive rights to such trademarks are expressly reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. BlackBerry is not responsible for any third-party products or services.

Media Contacts:

Make UK Media Relations 
Hilary Douglas: 07867 179163

BlackBerry Media Relations 
+1 (519) 597-7273 
mediarelations@blackBerry.com

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