Featured Product
This Week in Quality Digest Live
Management Features
Eric Whitley
Seven tips for efficient maintenance
Zhanna Lyubykh
Consequences and costs of abusive supervision
Dario Lirio
Modernization is critical to enhance patient experience and boost clinical trial productivity
Oliver Binz
Better internal information systems help managers tell consumer demand from inflationary pressure
Dale Crawford
Electrical contractors and other skilled trades are losing institutional knowledge

More Features

Management News
Attendees will learn how three top manufacturing companies use quality data to predict and prevent problems, improve efficiency, and reduce costs
More than 40% of directors surveyed cite the ability of companies to execute as one of the biggest threats to improving ESG performance
MIT Sloan study shows that target-independent compensation systems can be superior
Steps that will help you improve and enhance your employee recruitment, retention, and engagement
300 Talent acquisition leaders and HR executives from companies gather in Kansas City
FedEx demonstrates commitment to customer-focused continuous improvement
SONY-based 8MP color, UVC USB, high-speed camera provides high dynamic range and dual-stream support
Configuration lifecycle management provider saw 42% increase in annual recurring revenue
Designed to offer a comprehensive safety solution for fleet vehicles and workforce personnel

More News

Denrie Caila Perez


How Smart Manufacturing Is Vulnerable to Attacks

A report from Trend Micro demonstrates how proprietary systems can be exploited

Published: Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 12:03

A new report from Trend Micro Research illustrates how advanced hackers are using unconventional attack vectors against smart manufacturing environments. Smart manufacturing technology generally operates through proprietary systems, which use their own proprietary language. However, these systems also still run on the computing power of traditional IT systems. While typically designed to function independently from other systems, it’s this particular loophole that leaves these systems vulnerable to IT threats.

“Past manufacturing cyberattacks have used traditional malware that can be stopped by regular network and endpoint protection,” says Bill Malik of Trend Micro. “However, advanced attackers are likely to develop operational technology-specific attacks designed to fly under the radar. As our research shows, there are multiple vectors now exposed to such threats, which could result in major financial and reputational damage for Industry 4.0 businesses. The answer is IIoT-specific security designed to root out sophisticated, targeted threats.”

Working in partnership with Politecnico di Milano, Trend Micro used real-time equipment from its Industry 4.0 Lab to demonstrate how malicious threats can potentially exploit these systems in an industrial IoT (IIoT) environment. According to the report, the system languages can be easily “abused to input malicious code, traverse through the network, or steal confidential information without being detected.” Due to its isolated nature, integrity checks are limited—subsequently making the system unprotected against certain risks and malicious activity.

Manufacturing execution systems, human machine interfaces, and customizable IIoT devices were identified as the most vulnerable to these kinds of attacks.

To combat these threats, the report recommends a number of defense and mitigation measures, such as:
• Deep packet inspection that supports operational technology protocols to identify anomalous payloads at the network level
• Integrity checks run regularly on endpoints to identify any altered software components
• Code signing on IIoT devices to include dependencies such as third-party libraries
• Risk analysis that extends beyond physical safety to automation software
• Full chain of trust for data and software in smart manufacturing environments
• Detection tools to recognize vulnerable/malicious logic for complex manufacturing machines
• Sandboxing and privilege separation for software used on industrial machines

Trend Micro stresses that failing to address these potential weak links could result in damaged goods or malfunctions, as well as disrupt workflows, resulting in the manufacture of defective products.

First published on the engineering.com blog.


About The Author

Denrie Caila Perez’s picture

Denrie Caila Perez

As an accomplished contributing writer for engineering.com, Denrie Caila Perez covers news and stories on additive manufacturing, aerospace, IoT, artificial intelligence, and environmental breakthroughs.