Slacking on cybersecurity could mean hacks for industrial robots

Dive Brief:

Lacking cybersecurity could lead industrial robots and computers responsible for building cars, for example, to be easily accessed by hackers, Recode reported last week.
While connecting industrial machinery to the internet yields various benefits, it can also increase risk as robots can be reprogrammed slightly and lead to “catastrophic” product defects, per a Trend Micro report.
Patching security holes is an easy process, but the fact that the robots weren’t built to be internet-compatible could complicate matters.
Dive Insight:

Cyber risk is prevalent throughout the supply chain, yet many fail to realize the implications. A stoppage is alarming; having a hacker tamper with programs is far worse.

A survey conducted late last year revealed that while 40% of manufacturing respondents had suffered a cyberattack, some costing over a million dollars — a number that could grow exponentially when damages to the items in production are considered, especially if safety is involved.In addition to manufacturing stoppages that could ripple costs down the supply chain, hackers could steal intellectual property, data or shut down servers needed to run consumer-driven websites.

In fact, many failed to realize connecting devices opened a door to hacks. Fortunately, much can be done to avert costly breaches. Awareness is the first step: conducting cybersecurity audits to identify gaps in systems, technology and processes can go a long way to defending operations. In the case of tampering, improving quality controls may also help spot discrepancies before they become a problem. In every case, however, having a plan is better, even without capital investment, is better than sitting on risks.