Top Cyber Threats Facing Manufacturers this Holiday Season | Right Hand Technology Group


Why should manufacturers strengthen their cybersecurity as the holiday season approaches? With the manufacturing industry frequently in the crosshairs of cyber threats, the holiday rush amplifies these risks. This guide pinpoints the primary cyber threats to watch out for during this busy time and suggests strategies for bolstering defenses, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive cybersecurity, efficient processes, and achieving tangible security results to mitigate these heightened risks.

  1. The Persistent Threat, Phishing Attacks

Phishing remains one of the most common cyber threats faced by manufacturers. During the holiday season, when communication via email increases, phishing attacks become even more prevalent. These attacks often involve malicious emails disguised as legitimate, aiming to trick employees into revealing sensitive information such as login credentials or financial data. The sophistication of these attacks has grown, with emails often appearing to be from trusted sources like suppliers or financial institutions. 

How to Protect Against Phishing: 

  • Train employees to identify suspicious emails. 
  • Implement email security solutions that can detect and block phishing attempts. 
  • Encourage the use of multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of security. 
  1. Disrupting Operations, Ransomware

Ransomware attacks, where attackers encrypt a company’s data and demand a ransom for its release, can be particularly damaging for manufacturers. These attacks can halt production lines, cause financial losses, and lead to compromised customer data. During the holidays, when production often ramps up to meet increased demand, the impact of such attacks can be even more severe. 

How to Mitigate Ransomware Risks: 

  • Keep all systems and software updated with the latest security patches. 
  • Regularly back up data and ensure backups are stored securely. 
  • Educate staff about the risks of ransomware and safe internet practices. 
  1. Often Overlooked, Internal Threats:

Internal threats, whether unintentional or malicious, pose a significant risk to manufacturers. Employees, contractors, or business partners who have inside access can inadvertently or intentionally cause security breaches. The risk increases during the holiday season due to temporary staff hires and the general hustle of the period. 

Strategies to Reduce Internal Threats: 

  • Conduct thorough background checks for all employees. 
  • Limit access to sensitive information based on the role. 
  • Monitor and log access to sensitive systems and data. 
  1. A Growing Concern, Supply Chain Attacks

Manufacturers are increasingly vulnerable to supply chain attacks, where attackers target less secure elements in the supply chain. These attacks can come through third-party vendors or software suppliers, making them difficult to detect and prevent. The interconnected nature of supply chains means that a breach in one area can have widespread implications. 

Tips for Securing the Supply Chain: 

  • Vet and monitor third-party vendors for cybersecurity practices. 
  • Establish clear cybersecurity requirements for all suppliers. 
  • Regularly assess and update supply chain security strategies. 
  1. Internet of Things (IoT) Vulnerabilities

The manufacturing industry’s growing reliance on IoT devices has opened new avenues for cyber attackers. These devices, often lacking robust security features, can be easily compromised to gain access to a manufacturer’s network. During the holiday season, the increased use of IoT devices can amplify these vulnerabilities. 

How to Secure IoT Devices: 

  • Change default passwords and regularly update them. 
  • Isolate IoT devices on separate network segments. 
  • Regularly update IoT device firmware and software. 
  1. A Door Left Open, Unpatched Software and Hardware

Outdated software and hardware can act as easy entry points for cybercriminals. Failing to apply security patches promptly leaves systems vulnerable to known exploits. Manufacturers, with their often complex and varied IT environments, can be particularly susceptible to this issue. 

Best Practices for Patch Management: 

  • Implement a regular schedule for software and hardware updates. 
  • Prioritize patches based on the severity of the vulnerabilities they address. 
  • Use patch management tools to automate the process. 
  1. DDoS Attacks: Disrupting Accessibility

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, aimed at overwhelming systems and making them inaccessible, can significantly disrupt a manufacturer’s operations. During the holiday season, when online traffic peaks, DDoS attacks can be particularly damaging, causing system outages and disrupting production and sales. 

Strategies to Defend Against DDoS Attacks: 

  • Deploy DDoS protection solutions that can absorb and mitigate attack traffic. 
  • Ensure that your internet bandwidth can handle traffic spikes. 
  • Regularly test your systems for DDoS resilience. 

The holiday season brings a spike in cyber threats for manufacturers. Being prepared for these threats involves understanding the risks, training staff, implementing strong security measures, and regularly updating and patching systems. By taking proactive steps to secure their operations, manufacturers can not only protect themselves against the increased risk of cyber-attacks during the holiday season but also strengthen their overall cybersecurity posture for the long term. Remember, investing in cybersecurity is not just about defense; it’s about ensuring the continuity and success of your business. 


  •   Right-Hand Technology Group
  •   Dec 20, 2023
  •   Blog, Security